Can you touch your nose with one finger? Can you put two hands on two feet? Do you see four paws on a dog? Look at the world with someone you love. The numbers you know are all around you. A natural counting book for children… without numbers.
I was breastfeeding our young twins. Their older brother was maneuvering un-successfully, for a cuddle in a crowded lap. At last he cried out, in envy and anger, "I wish you had three babas!" Julian was three years old. He had been weaned at two, and his happy memories of nursing were still fresh. He could not count; nor would he for some time. Yet he easily tallied three children and two "babas," as he'd dubbed them long before; and he could do a simple sum: three children and two babas equals one child left out. In a flash I understood that even young children know numbers, not as abstract symbols, but as vivid features of a concrete and personal landscape.
Nina Planck is a farmers' daughter, food writer, farmers' market entrepreneur, and advocate for traditional foods. She wrote "The Farmers' Market Cookbook," "Real Food: What to Eat and Why," Real Food for Mother and Baby," and "The Real Food Cookbook." Nina is the mother of three.
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