June 21, 2010

Remember to Stop and Smell the Elephants

I am recuperating reporting today from my latest adventure with PDub and his Papallama.  They took me on a grand safari Saturday at the zoo!  This was our second journey with PDub to the zoo.  He went last fall after just turning one plus a few months, and at that age, he soaked it up with his eyes.  He couldn't tell us what he was seeing, of course.  But this weekend, Papallama and I had him to ourselves for the day, so Papallama decided a safari in 90+ degrees would be fun! 

With our little red safari wagon, Preston led the way up the path.  Lo and behold!  Something caught his attention, and Preston began to trot, no, run toward the African giant looming ahead! 

"ELEPHANT!"  he shrieked.  Oh the joy and amazement he shared with all in earshot.
"Hello, elephant!"  he shouted over and over to the two pachyderms.  He continued to gaze at them, announcing their presence to each new visitor that passed by, as if to say,
"People!  This is the mighty elephant!  Stop and give him the attention and adoration he deserves!"

I think we could have ended our safari right there.  After a long pause to give him lots of time to take it in, we had to literally pull him away from the exhibit with promises of more animals, just as grand.  Foolish Grammy and Papallama.  There were no such animals as grand as those elephants.  Oh, we saw snakes, spiders, birds, lions, giraffes, and even a baby orangutan who put on a comical act with a cardboard box.  But it was the elephants he returned to at the end of the day.  It was the elephants he recalled to his mama and daddy at law when he returned home.  It was the elephant that I will never see the same way again.  Thank you, PDub, for reminding me not to take God's creatures for granted. I see them now with new eyes.

So that brings me to the subject of today's read.  How did PDub know the elephant when he saw it?  Well, I believe it had to be in large part because of his picture book of words.  His animal book,My Big Animal Book (My Big Board Books)is one of his favorites. I have one for him at my house, too.  He has been able to do the point to the (fill in the blank) trick for while now, but here I saw firsthand the importance of equipping him with books AND experiences to build a solid foundation for the learning to come. 

He is rapidly adding words to his vocabulary right now on all fronts: reading, listening, speaking.  He repeats almost everything he hears. (Papallama asked him, "PDub, are you copying me? "Yes," grinned PDub.) Between now (He has a birthday coming up in two weeks!) and his next birthday, his vocabulary will grow to 1000 words or more perhaps.  And once he starts school, he will need to add 2000-3000 words a year just to keep up. 

How will that happen?  I believe strongly that books will provide the richest resource for that.  Experiences will make it real and meaningful.  It calls for a grand safari!

Don't miss the elephants!


  1. What a fabulous time......it's amazing what children will learn......Happy SITS day!

  2. Grammy,

    I hope it's okay I called you that. I saw your comment on SITS today and the title of your last post, this one, called to me. It's not every day you stop and smell the elephants. Imagine my surprise when I realized that you are an amazing woman who shares my love of books and God. You have just found a new follower!

    Thanks for sharing. I will make sure I stop and smell the elephants today because of you and PDub.

    Run on.

  3. aaaawwww pdub....
    he will always look back at this time