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The numbers are up

Posted by PlayGroundology on July 3, 2008



Early this morning our numbers weren’t as strong as the 400 years racked up for today’s anniversary celebrations in Québec City. We couldn’t touch that. Noah-David and I were impressed by our own numbers though – 4 garbage trucks, 2 return trips across the vieux pont de Sorel, 2 buses, 1 white school bus, 1 construction crane, 1 gang of cows and 1 gang of seagulls. Quite an observation record from 6 to 8 in the morning all thanks to an alert little boy who loves to see, name and count his world.

He’s been doing up to 10 solo, out loud and confidently for months. The tenner count is handy for hide and seek with grandmaman, grandpapa and tante TiTi and great to burst into when he wants to get a handle on quantifying his cars – possibly the only item he can count 10 of other than fingers and toes. He’s also pretty accurate with the handful of 1 through 5 finger action – though there is 1 finger that he has a hard time springing up without its buddy – in case you’re wondering it’s not the middle one.

One of our recurring daybreak traditions is counting ourselves downstairs in unison every morning from bedrooms to living room and office. We go down each wooden step in an unhurried manner giving us lots of time to pronounce and enunciate each number 1 through 16. Almost always we count in French but occasionally I’ll slip into English and Noah keeps up pretty well with a cute accented inflection and intonation.

For the little ones – looking out to and up at the world – it’s the daily activities, the reading, the listening to music, the singing of songs and the trying to understand the world around them that provide counting’s first magic taste for order, sequence and chaos.

I’m counting down now to a couple of free shows at the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal on a solo mission to the city. Mélanie and the kids just dropped me off at the métro a couple of hours ago. Moments ago I heard a baby our Nellie-Rose’s age talking away as happily and boisterously as her. For a moment Nellie-Rose was in my arms telling me a story that only she can tell. Maybe there are numbers there too like the ten thousand million hundred times she looks and will look at her maman adorlngly, or maybe it’s the 24 million heartbeats, or 5 million breaths she’s already taken.



This year we’ll be sure to be singing the 12 Days of Christmas song. It will help build Noah’s repertoire beyond Le pont d’Avignon, Oh Canada and the theme songs from Passe Partout and Toupie et Binou. The 12 days tune I find it to be a bit tricky with all that backward action but hopefully Noah-David will be able to set me straight. We’ll practice for awhile too before the season is upon us. Maybe a good car song as we wind on down the roads of Québec, Ontario and Atlantic Canada. If you see me on the side of the road somewhere in Newfoundland with a bag and no car in sight, you’ll know it wasn’t that great of an idea.

In keeping with the number’s theme here are a couple of sites for kids to explore and have fun with numbers – BBC Numberjacks, PBS Kids, Curious George Count Your Chickens, and Counting Rhymes for Toddlers.

For the adults, here’s a flash of what happened on the 3rd day of the 7th month over the years – UK, US and Canadian perspectives.


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