the power of ten

Recently, the Potato has been obsessive about counting things, and learning to count past twenty. A few weeks ago, as we drove home from daycare, he kept counting and counting and counting, stopping every ten to ask me, “what comes after (x)9, Mom?” I remember having a similar drive home with the Bee, when she started to learn about tens, too.

He got up to something like 200 before losing interest.

He asks me about numbers all the time now. “Mom, does four and two together make forty-two?” “Mom, does 2 threes make thirty-three?”

It’s really fascinating.

He’s also starting to be interested more in words. He can recognize simple words like “he” and “an.” When we’re reading together now, he understands that those clumps of letters actually make words, although the words themselves still elude him.

But it’s the numbers that he’s most interested in, and that I’m most interested in observing him be interested in. He’s even getting into simple math, although again, it’s always phrased in a question. “Mom, does two plus one make three?” “Mom, does two plus two make four?”

He would go on asking these kinds of questions forever, if we let him (he does, however, have to eat, and occasionally to sleep). In fact, right now, he’s sitting next to landisdad, who’s on te computer, saying, “Dad, does O P E N spell open?”

I told him tonight that his brain is like a sponge right now, soaking up learning and knowledge. He laughed, I think imagining that SpongeBob was lurking between his ears. But it’s everything–the tens, and the words, and the math problems–all coming at once, that makes me feel that way. His brain is a sponge now, slurping up new ideas and information every day.


January 4, 2008. growing up.


  1. chichimama replied:

    Scary and cool all at once, isn’t it?

  2. elise replied:

    I can still remember the day Thomas was four years old sitting in the back of the van and he said “mom, 4 and 3 make 7” (I can’t remember the exact numbers but they had to all be under 10 since he couldn’t count very high yet) I just thought, did he just teach himself how to add? I knew then that he would turn out to be a math whiz and he has! Maybe you have one on your hands too!

  3. MommyWithAttitude replied:

    The learning development is so fascinating, isn’t it? My 6 year old just made this crazy transition from little kid to kid and it’s just so cool to watch him now start to do things like get inside jokes and sarcasm and offbeat humor. It’s like he’s so grown up all of a sudden and it’s really fun to hang out with him, but then he’s not my baby anymore either!

  4. penguinunearthed replied:

    It’s fascinating to watch, isn’t it. I love helping them figure out new things. Chatterboy, 6, is starting to get the tricks to mental arithmetic, and its great when he tells me how he figures out something like 8 plus 8 – “I added two to the 8, to get 10, and then worked out 8 – 2 = 6, and then I knew it had to be 16!” He’s as pleased as punch when he gets there, too.

  5. Jody replied:

    This has been the year of math at school (last year having been the year of reading) and it’s absolutely fascinating to me, to see the kids figuring out number concepts. Elba went through a long phase of being intrigued by infinity and negative numbers. Lately she wants to ask us what n-n is over and over and over again (40-40? 20-20? 300-300? Elba, ask a different kind of math question already!) Wilder is intrigued by the whole 9s issue — “it’s always one less!” Oh, and he wants me to do the 2 factorials over and over and over again. Although this weekend, he mixed it up by not starting at 1+1 but by 3+3. Sheesh, kid, I had just gotten smooth with 8192.

  6. Comfort Addict replied:

    How exciting! I hope that he can retain that curiosity about, enjoyment of and playfulness with learning his whole life. Enjoy these moments, though.

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