imagination · Parenting · Ways of seeing

What Children See



This photo was taken in December 2010 when my then 28 month old son asked my why there was a picture of a man with a suitcase and a ball on the door of the baby changing room. 

The experience reminded me that in June 2002 I bought a book  called Ways of Seeing by John Berger. The topic of the book is not necessarily how children see the world, but it does eging with the point that one sees before one speaks. 

A child can see and reconise images long before he is ever able to describe what he has seen. Even once we can speak, we see the images around us before we open our mouths to comment on them.

The book goes on to discuss art, adverts and photographs and what message the images convey to us. It is a highly interesting read and I would recommend it if you are in any way interested in the subject. 

But back to the world through the eyes of a child. Since the episode with the man with the suitcase and the ball, there have been countless reminders of how different a child’s view of things is to an adult’s. 

Like this time, when the box we’d just received a parcel in became a fantastic plaything.


Or when Number Two came downstairs with the newborn insert from a car seat on his head and told me it was the hat of a soldier in the old days.


Or on the regular occasions when the sofa becomes a trampoline or a Viking ship.

Or when the bunk beds become pirate ship and my box of red candles gets confiscated as dynamite.

I showed Number One the top photo again recently and asked him what it was. “The sign for a baby changing room”, he said, looking at me as if I had lost my mind. He’s obviously growing up.


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