I’d heard kids are like sponges, absorbing everything around them. I’m not sure I ever really understood it until I lived with my wife and our son.
We were sitting down to dinner and my wife had included peas as a side dish. She hates them but I love them so it was a nice thing for me. She was also trying very hard not to just transfer her dislikes of food to our son. So he was offered everything we ate with a two bite rule. He had to try two bites of food. If he still didn’t like it he didn’t have to eat it. That didn’t mean he could eat two bites then demand pudding or something similar, we were wise to that scam. But he would get more of the other things we were having that meal that he did like. If that meant he had an all broccoli meal then he had a all broccoli meal.
We were lucky my wife was a stay at home mom and a good cook so we didn’t have to rush meal prep while everyone was hungry so I know we ate a smaller amount of processed food than most families. Sweet snacks were kept out of sight of the kid mostly. So the food he was introduced to on the whole was healthy and fresh.
All of this was before the boy really started talking. Oh there was a Yes, No!, and various versions of our names not to mention a LOT of “Mama”’s but not really full sentences. We didn’t speak baby talk to him but we did get silly with him, playing around with using the wrong words when he’d ask us to repeat what something was or when we were reading a book to him. He’d catch us every time and say, “nooooo” and giggle at our trying to mess with him. He was paying attention and learning.
So back to the peas.
There we are at dinner. The boy in his high chair pulled up to the table with his own plate of food. He kind of had the spoon thing down but the peas were attempting to escape so Mama gave him a little help. The boy tried his first bite and wasn’t impressed. Now while we are watching him try this stuff we are talking amongst ourselves about food we like and don’t like. It was my wife, myself and my ex-husband, Matt, chatting away and enjoying the company.
The second bite was a one the boy reluctantly took. He chewed it a bit then swallowed. Nope! He shook his head and pushed the plate with the peas away. We chuckled saying he was like his mama. I took his plate and took the peas. My wife said “well at least you like peas”. We laughed and that was when it happened.
The boy entered the conversation of his own volition. “Matt do you like peas?”
Clear as Day! Boom! He’s off and chattering with us.
I kind love that! Check out the complexity of that thought! Erin Likes peas. I dont like peas. I am like Mama so Mama doesn’t like peas. Who else is here? Matt. okay does Matt like peas? Lets ask!
Also think about the sintax there. It’s not like we sat down with him and say Okay here’s how a sentence is structured when you ask a question. But he had it down pat just from being around and listening to us.
Kids Are Sponges. They learn how the world works from watching us and being around us while we interact. Once I really figured that out I was freaked out for a bit but it was also a challenge. If I wanted my kid to be a certain way I had to model for him how to get there. It’s hard work but I think it’s worth it.