Thu May 01 2008 16:00 Set: I've been thinking about what it's like from Maggie's point of view when I point out something to her. When I point to a dog, in real life, a toy, or in a book, I think she understands that dogs all have the same general shape, are fuzzy, whatever. What I'm really wondering about is how she learns shapes, colors, letters, numbers, and how many of things there are.

Maggie has a set of foam letters and numbers to play with in the bathtub. If I point to a yellow letter P and say "yellow", she can't have a clue if I'm telling her the color, the shape, or what order it's in on the tub wall. What if she has three letters lined up and I say, "1, 2, 3" while pointing to a red B, a green C and a blue X?

My meaning will come across more clearly with fewer variables. For example, if all the letters were the same color, or if I am counting 3 of the same item, or sorting blocks by color. Thinking about this reminded me of a game Leonard and Sumana gave us for Christmas once called Set. In this game each player tries to find a set of three cards from those laid out that either have all properties common among them, or different. The elements on the cards need to be of the same number, color, shape and pattern OR the elements can each have one or more different properties from each other.