M for Mumma Ekta – it was no surprise that ‘m’ became one of the first few alphabets my toddler learnt to read on his own when we started playing the magnet game. Emptying out all the alphabets from the container, digging for similar ones, placing them on a white magnetic board in random order and then lining and counting them, has become one of the most fun games me and my son enjoy together as it builds his visual perceptual skills among others.
Instead of teaching him ABC in the sequential order, I started showing him alphabets associated with the words he loved speaking. A for Amay, E for Ekta, M for Mumma, P for Papa, S for Shiva based on his love for the character in his book, T for Tractor. However, it is the letter M that caught his fancy as it stands for Mumma Ekta. When my toddler learnt to speak my name at 19 months, he could never disassociate the two words and coined his own unique way of addressing me.
While I was happy that he really enjoyed the alphabet game, it gave me greater joy when he started reading the letter M on his own, in his books and on his sleeping pillow. I was more pleasantly surprised when he said Mumma Ekta pointing to the tiny (about half an inch) letter ‘m’ printed on his pillow contradicting the theory that small children can only read big (2 inch high) black bold letters.
M always stood for Mumma Ekta, until one fine day he made the connection with letter ‘e’ sitting next to letter ‘m’ on his pillow. Kissing his Mumma Ekta on the pillow has become one of the favourite rituals he performs almost every night as he rests to sleep holding her hand.