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3V0225.01 Introducing Books. 9/04

A few days ago Miriam and Peggy were together on my bed, i.e. Peggy was crawling all over and Miriam was assigned guard duty. But Miriam was reading her Nancy Drew mystery. To keep Peggy’s excursions constrained, she introduced her to books, explaining, “See, Peggy, This is a book. This is Nancy Drew.” Miriam tried to interest her in the cover, but when Peggy came close, she put it in her mouth.

It is common after her morning feeding that Peggy is left to play on the floor of our bedroom. A few toys dot the floor (usually both teething toys, sometimes the ring tower and Dapper Dan). After a little while, Peggy finds other objects of interest — and those are usually my books! (Just now I needed to remove them from her reach lest some tome come crashing down upon her.) If I were better organized the books might not be in piles on the floor.

It is my intention to introduce books to Peggy (as objects with a specific use in our social world) during today’s videotape (P 32). I have sorted through the older children’s collection of baby books and brought a selection from which Gretchen should pick her favorite. She chose “Baby Animals”, as I would have done also (Garth Williams, Golden Press, NY 1972). I prefer it to others in our set because it has big pictures and offers potential for making animal noises (fun for the parent). Gretchen has NOT read Ninio’s article on labeling in J. Child Lang. as I have. She attempted Bruner’s article on Ontogenesis of Speech Acts but found it impossible to get through. I have not described nor discussed Ninio’s article with her, so Gretchen’s responses should be natural, i.e. specifically not influenced by that article on labeling acquisition.
Anyone could well imagine Peggy’s first reaction to a book — put it in your mouth. To distract Peggy from my books while I moved them, I let her play with a book of Miriam’s (about 5″ x 6″, cardboard covered). I didn’t expect [her] to try so hard to digest the material. Not only had she chewed on the corner,, but she got it open (by accident? probably), ripped out and chewed on some of the pages. This is noted to explain why we will be cautious in Peggy’s holding of books.

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