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“Hermit Crab Say???”

We’re having a bit of a language explosion around here.

Our toddler’s vocabulary has grown by leaps and bounds over the last few weeks.  He’s always repeating us and the people around him, trying any new word he hears on for size.

Today’s favourite?“Glaucoma”.

I mean honestly, where does he come up with this stuff?!

Anyways, in addition to repeating new words, he wants to know what everything “says”.

Some are easy.  We don’t even hesitate when he asks, “Lion say?” or “Horse say?”   We’re quick to jump in with a roar and a neigh.

But recently he’s started stumping us, asking about starfish, crabs and sea urchins.  (Eric Carle’s A House for a Hermit Crab has been in high rotation lately. 😉 )

He would always look at me expectantly, waiting for my answer.

Only problem was, I didn’t have an answer.

I was never really sure how to respond.  Sometimes I’d say I didn’t know, other times I’d tell him they were quiet and didn’t make any noise.

I had no idea, so I thought I’d better make something up.

He was never satisfied with my answers.  His two-and-a-half year old self could see right through me.

Yesterday he asked me for the 20th time, “Hermit crab say?”  This time, instead of my usual non-answer, I said, “I don’t know what a hermit crab says.  Maybe we could look it up on the computer?”

Well, let me tell you.

He LOVED this idea.  Jumping off my lap he dashed into the office, eager to find the answer.

Once we got settled in front of the computer I pulled up YouTube.  Immediately after typing in “hermit crab noise” 16 200(!) results popped up.

Apparently hermit crabs do make noise.  It’s like a chirping sound.

Who knew?!

We clicked through video after video, each showing a hermit crab making the same chirping sound.  It was a blast.

Looking back, I think it’s pretty interesting that it took me WEEKS to seek some outside help for our hermit crab dilemma.

One of my biggest parenting goals is to encourage my children’s autonomy and independence, and here I was, placing my toddler in a position of complete dependence.

It’s as if I was saying, “All animal noise questions must come through me!”

Pretty silly.

I want my kids to feel confident and capable.

I want them to ask questions and consider different sources of information when seeking answers.

I don’t want them to think the final word on the entire animal kingdom and it’s noises rests on my shoulders.

Talk about pressure!

All joking aside, I want my children to come to me with their questions and problems.  I also want them to know that I don’t have all the answers.

Most importantly, I don’t want them to give up.

I want them to know that just because mom and dad don’t know the answer doesn’t mean the question is unanswerable.  It just means we get to have some fun finding the answer together.

So thanks, Mr. Hermit Crab.

Or should I say, “chirp, chirp.” 🙂


Image Credit: Rushen

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