Sunday, 23 September 2012

The language instinct

A month or so ago the language switch in my daughter's brain seemed to turn on. Practically overnight her vocabulary grew vastly, and she started to have enough command of language to tell us stories. "Daddy, big hole, water," she told me after a day on the beach. It's brilliant, even when she uses it to send back her bedtime milk for not being warm enough. Chomsky, Pinker, eat your heart out.

But I have one nagging fear about her language instinct. It's been at the back of my mind since she started nursery shortly after turning one. Nursery routine goes something like this: Wash hands. Breakfast. Nappy change. Wash hands. Play. Wash hands. Lunch. Sleep. Nappy change. Wash hands. Play. Wash hands. Tea. Nappy change. Wash hands. Play. Wash hands. Snack. Home time. And ever since she started I've been dreading the day when she is able to turn to the nursery nurse helping them in the bathroom, and as soap is applied and they are encouraged to rub their hands together, says "We don't do this at home."*  

*We do, after a very messy poo or a session with paints, but not, you know, all the time.

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