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Concept Checking

Gravity is a concept, right?

Last week I posted about how Thomas had learnt the concept of himself as an independent person. He did this by proudly pointing to himself when I asked him who had scribbled all over the window in blue crayon.

When I was doing my MA in Linguistics, one of the lecturers claimed that the first conept we learn as babies is that of in and out.  He said we learn that by putting things into our mouths and then taking them out again.  It certainly seems a plausible hypothesis.  Thomas has learnt and relearnt that concept a million times as one of his favourite pastimes is to put stuff in a box and then take it out and put it in again and take it out again, ad infinitum.  It can be strangely relaxing to watch him do this.

Under the sofa

One of the first things I was aware of Thomas learning was the concept of ‘under’.  When he had just started to crawl he liked to roll a small little yellow ball under the sofa.  I would be waiting behind the sofa to get the ball and roll it back to him.  One of the sights that I will never forget is him positioning himslef so that he could see with one eye under the sofa to see where the ball was and actually realising that he had seen me.

I spy a ball and an eye

I spy a ball… and a baby

Up, up and away

I remember being in the UK last November and his nana was at the upstairs window calling down to me and Thomas.  I tried to get him to look up at the window to see her, but he just was having any of it.  He looked all around him and below him, but couldn’t or wouldn’t look up.  If I threw a ball at him he would track the movement, but if I threw it up in the air above him he would just look dumbfuonded when it disappeared and then utterly surprised when it fell in front of him.

A few months ago he noticed trees and lamp posts and started to look up.  He still gets moments when he looks at trees and the wires that run acorss the streets here in Curitiba nd he just stops as if he is gobsmacked by how something could be up there.

Size matters

It seems that Thomas is currently getting his head around the idea of something being too big or too small.  He has a toy petrol station that has a road going into it an around it.  One part of the toy is a a car wash with two sponges on either side and a sign across the top.  Cars over a certain size won’t fit through this gap which caused a lot of problems in the early days as he tried to force big cars through it.  Nowadays he will pick up a big car, look at it and then at the petrol station and then sadly shake hs head and say ‘no’.

Is the truck too big for the car wash, or the car wash too small for the truck?

Is the truck too big for the car wash, or the car wash too small for the truck?

These few concepts are obviously not the only ones Thomas has learnt (see below).  Instead they are the ones I have enjoyed watching him learn.  Are there any conepts that you remember watching your child learn?

Extra reading:

Infants Grasp Gravity with Innate Sense of Physics – livescience.com

Babies understand numbers as abstract concepts – newscientist.com

Written by
Noah Cooper

I'm the head of the Cooper heard. My wife and I moved abroad when our first son who came along in May, 2011. I am a typical Brit abroad with a family to raise and am sharing the journey of the expat life abroad.

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Written by Noah Cooper