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I’ve mentioned before that Simon can be incredibly loud and used these exact words while doing so. But this isn’t about yelling; it’s about counting.*

Some time this winter, I noticed that Simon had begun to count to 10. At first, he’d count like this:

Un, Too, Fee, Foe…[pause]…Eight, Nine, Ten.

Then, he began going to eleven. Not consecutively mind you—those middle numbers still evaded him—but he ended up at eleven and not ten:

Un, Too, Fee, Foe…[pause]…Eight, Nine, Ten, Eweven.

This eleven fixation was a mystery to me until one day I heard my mom counting steps from the kitchen to the upstairs landing as she walked Simon up to his room. There were eleven steps, and thus the mystery was solved.

I meant to write about it, but somehow never did. Then the moment passed, as Simon’s pronunciation improved, he began to include numbers five through seven, and not too long thereafter began counting to twelve and thirteen.

Well, Friday night he had another little surprise for us. He began to count—it was just a few days ago but I can’t remember exactly what it was he was counting—and this is what his delighted parents heard:

One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven….

You get the idea. But wait! There’s more:

…Thirteen, Fourteen, Fifteen, Sixteen, Seventeen, Eighteen, Nineteen, Tenteen, Eleventeen.

Since I only have one child, I’m not always certain how universal my experiences are. When Simon popped out with “two deers” I assumed that his mistake was one all kids make as they apply a rules of English grammar to a mother tongue chock full of exceptions.

This utterance struck me as a bit more unusual, and I was surprised to see Simon apply a relatively sophisticated pattern in a way that, while incorrect, makes good sense. Like “dee-dee,” and “bless you, Simon”, this is a mistake I’ll be relishing and am in no hurry to correct. Why not tenteen?

* In fact, poor guy, I blogged all about his toddler colic, and then it vaporized with nary a mention. Simon’s December fussiness lasted about two weeks and disappeared when his language ability leapt to the next level. It was clearly all due to frustration as he struggled to communicate better. In fact, once he got over his infant reflux, every period of Simon’s fussiness has had has been short lived and associated with the onset of a new developmental milestone. I’m guessing the next difficult period is due to hit within the next six months when he potty trains.

One Response to “Simon Goes to Eleven(teen)”

  1. Amanda says:

    In French, seventy is “soixante-dix” and ninety is “quatre-vingt dix”–or, in English, sixty-ten and eight-ten. 81 is “quatre-vingt onze” or eighty-eleven, and so forth. So this is a numerical pattern, albeit not an English one. You didn’t know Simon spoke French, did you? Bright boy.

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