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Journaling for Toddlers

May 9th, 2011  |  by  |  Published in Uncategorized

And so it begins.

It is perhaps not surprising that I, a somewhat logorrheic blogger in my off-hours, would find a way to get my children to write a journal before they even know how to write. But I’ve been fairly pleased with the results so far.

We’re tucked away in the Baltic Sea coastal town of Wustrow, in a part of Germany very appropriately called Fischland. It’s been a great and fine vacation so far, with stops in Berlin and various parts of northern Germany to visit friends I’ve known since I spent a year of high school there. But as always with kids this young, we have twin fears: 1) that in two months they won’t even be able to recall this trip and 2) that we as parents will only half-remember the small wonders of preschoolers negotiating new languages, new geography and new flavors of ice cream.

That’s where the journals come in: two cheap black notebooks that say Berlin on the cover have now grounded a bedtime ritual of writing and drawing the days’ events. The writing, though, is actually mostly dictating. Dalia can write letters, but words remain a mystery to her, and her asking how each word is spelled is the diary equivalent of her walking to school: way too slow. So we’ve taken to cheating, in a way, by just having them both tell us what happened that day, in as much of their words as possible.

My favorite part of all of this, though, has been Nico’s contributions, because I think they capture the insane essence of a two-year-old’s mind fairly well. We have some video of him saying his crazythings, but it doesn’t have the same wonder, I think, as actually seeing him transcribed on the page. It would be, I think, a good exercise for us, as parents already desperate not to forget how unique and bendy and scatalogical the minds of all toddlers are, to keep up with some kind of diary even when at home.

And now, as we pack for a train (a longish ride, once again) to Amsterdam, here’s part of Nico’s entry from yesterday, written at 9pm last night.

What’s a diary? What’s diarrhea?

A rash.

What’s a diarrhea? A kind of poop.

My body says I’m hungry. How do you write “I’m hungry?” Write it on a paper.

Why was the church [tower, which we climbed] scary? Because it was high up?

My bug died. Why did it die? I buried my big. How do you say “I buried my bug” in German?

[It was] a ladybug. We find three. Why are there no more here now?

At the beach, that baby was throwing sand and it got in my eye. I think it was Wilma. But maybe it was Jule. Or something like that.

How do you write “I got two bugs and I buried them?”

The end.

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