Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 61.djvu/54

This page has been validated.

These comparative frequencies in the words used are an interesting index of the interests of the child, as well as of its energy. The preceding list gives those used most often by 2 (b.) on his two and a half year day:

Such a list shows the child's interests centered egoistically, and naturally, too, around his primitive struggle for existence. The aggressive want, go, get, put, will, have and take; the offensive don't, 'the everlasting no,' always taking precedence of the submissive yes; the demonstrating that, this, there, here, in and to—all show the natural pleasure-pain life in its immediate expression in ceaseless activity and in its conflict with the environment. The social instincts, however, appear in the more frequent use of his parents and sisters' names than of those of novel objects or objects for play; sympathy and approbation are shown by the use of see and some.

The important role played by the great activity of the child has been pointed out by Tracy (ibid., pp. 146-148) in the child's use of a much larger proportion of verbs than the adult. The full record of a child's talk for a day gives a vivid and fascinating picture of this intense activity; the following scenes give fair samples. In her first play for the day with her doll, about three quarters of an hour after waking and before breakfast, 3 (g.) kept up the following stream:

"My little baby, my little baby. Momsie, Momsie, jiggle my little baby, jiggle my little baby. Please put that little pillow in, put that little pillow in—little pillow in. I did put. Just little tiny bit, little tiny bit,—little, little, little. Going take nightgown off. Safety pin, safety pin. Put that on bed. Going put that on, going put little pillow way. Please help me put my little baby's sleeves in. I call that my little baby. Why I—I—I? Try pin. Can't pin. Why write that way? Don't want my pillow,—want that pillow,—want—. Where that little baby sleep on my pillow? (Repeated) Why do just like that way? That bed spread lie on. (Repeated) Little baby,—cover legs. (Sings) Sweet little baby, sweet little baby,—Oh little baby, Oh little baby, Oh little baby, Oh little baby. Put that,—that bed spread little baby lie on—have bed spread. Go right off. I going put my hands on that. Try make that stick together,—stick together; try make that stick together,—go together all nice. My little baby can't lie. What?—what? I used my—away back on Mamma's bed. Can't tell Hilsie that. My baby got two little shoes, two little stockings on. (Repeated) Can't take off. My poor little baby got go bed, got stay in bed. Got little neck, little neck, cunning little neck,—little neck. Please unpin that safety-pin, Momsie. My little baby not very well,—have stay in bed. No,—my little baby's nightgown,—that Grandma made (latter four times)—other Mama made me,—that Emma made me, that Emma made me. That Mama crochet, Mama crochet other one—other one. Hasie have that one (repeated twice)—that one. My little baby have sleep on,—where my little pillow? Got little chin. Why do that way? Got no nightgown. Play with little safety pin." (She then changed off to another doll.)

Of course the above was interrupted by some talk from other members of the family, but we tried to leave the child to its own activity