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This word takes years to understand. Three-year-old Carter’s first definition was when his grandfather yelled across the Christmas wrapping paper, “Don’t throw out the train’s directions! What size battery does it need?” Too late. The directions were gone. Carter looked at the engine and said, “directions?” He looked at the box and said, “directions?” He looked at the engine and at his mother and cried for the train to move, for the train to whistle, for the cars to connect to the engine. What everyone there (ages 3, 38 and 77) needed for the engine were the directions. This was the beginning of a very small child’s definition of the word “directions.” The word needs to be repeated every time mom and Carter need to know how to make something work. This holiday they needed directions to make hot chocolate, to grow the amaryllis bulb, to make the train’s engine whistle.

Of course there are other definitions to the word “directions.” At age 3, start where the 3-year-old starts.

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