Sunday, March 9, 2014

David is 7!

Tasting the cake.
Framed drawings by David and Edward.
When I was in school, our behaviour was always blamed on our first seven years at home (known in Romanian as "cei sapte ani de acasa"). This period is now over for David. He turned 7 last month!

A typical conversation between David and Edward:

Edward enters the room. David is holding a toy while finishing his homework.
Edward: "I want that toy!"
On Rollerblades

In a former prison in Martinique
David: "I will give it to you if you tell me who is the smartest person in the world."
Edward: "OK, David. You are the smartest person in the world!"
David passes the toy to Edward, puts his pencil down and says:
"Edward, NOW, the smartest person in the world can read AND write! Isn't that amazing?".

I suppose when I first learned to read and write I must have thought it was quite amazing, too.

A little later Edward comes by with a candle: "I have a candle! Who wants to buy a candle?" he asks.
David: "I do. I do!"  (he is looking for distraction from his homework)
Edward: "I don't sell to smart people."

I find some of their conversations particularly funny. Now I understand why parents quote their children.

Lighting up the candles on his cake.
Learning the history of Martinique
David is a typical 7 year old with lots of energy. He loves rollerblading, swimming, drawing, playing with electronics, wax, candles, is fascinated by fire, etc.   He spends most of his daytime playing outside, and in the evening he does some extra writing or math, and he falls asleep while he is being read to. He enjoys Pippi Longstocking, and various science books starting from genetics to astronomy to lots of books about animals, fish and snails. He can also add numbers in his head pretty well.

Were my teachers right with the first seven years? Are they the most important in a child's life?
On an old cannon.
The brain's ability to change and adapt as a result of experience,
David's first volcano is hidden in fog.
i.e., the plasticity of the brain, is much higher for children than adults. This means that children learn easier than adults and the information acquired shapes their thinking at a deeper level than what they learn later on.
They learn languages easier and can recuperate from various forms of trauma faster than adults.

While the neuroplasticity level decreases as children grow, I do not think there is a scientifically proved threshold at exactly the age of seven.  At 6-7 children start school. Assuming that they did not attend pre-school & day-care & kindergarten before that, which most children do attend, starting school is a traumatic experience since it involves obeying a rigid program that confines children to chairs for several hours a day. If they do attend kindergarten and day-care, then it's wrong to assume the first seven years were spent at home. Before school, I only occasionally attended kindergarten and skipped school significantly afterwards - so the statement was factual in my case.

Conclusion. In the end, I think it's good to view every year of a persons' life as important and as different - each year holding its own beauty and surprises. I still believe that children are rightfully named bundles of joy. They do add a lot of trouble to the joy they bring, but the trouble keeps our lives interesting. I am glad that David had a happy birthday, and I hope that he will continue to be a very happy little boy for many years to come.

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