I’ve been kind of freaking out about the Bear’s development as of late. My parents insist that I could name letters and numbers when they were pointed to by the time I was 18 months (apparently my dad used to place bets with his friends as to whether or not I could and, when they stood there slack-jawed he got to chuckle and remind them that they now owed him a beer) and I have friends who tell me their siblings could read by the age of 2. Meanwhile, my daughter is still barely making out words and mostly sticking to the same 5-8. Although she is adopting a new word every other day or so, she seems to easily forget them the next time I bring them up.
Naturally, this sends me into that whole worrisome insecurity I’ve transferred from my lovelife – where it is no longer necessary – and over to my parenting. Am I not letting her socialize enough? Maybe we watch too much TV! Should we be reading more? Do I need to drill her on letters and numbers? Is she going to be behind when she starts preschool? Maybe I’m being a terrible mother. I need to do more reading about this age; I don’t know what the hell I’m doing. Maybe all the accomplishments of hers that I’m impressed with are months overdue! Should I have done that whole sign language for babies thing even though I heard it stunts their verbal progress? Oh God, why can’t I do anything with competence!?
And yeah, I know a lot of moms say that kids just naturally do things on their own time but there have been reports of kids who were locked in basements and such that never developed at all, so clearly that theory is bunk. And I’m not leaving my kid solitary confinement all day (or ever) but what if her expanding brain is just turning to mush because it’s not stimulated enough? Again: Oh God, why can’t I do anything with solid, consistent competence?!
So I’ve spent the better part of the day planted in front of the computer reading parenting resources on Parents.com and Disney’s parenting site. (I really should’ve started this earlier because I need to start introducing more vegetables into her diet and I have no idea how to deal with these tantrums she’s started throwing and I really have no clue as to when to transfer her to a normal bed or when to start potty training. ::sigh::) As it turns out, she’s right on track, despite what I’m hearing about these freakishly brainy kids who will probably turn out to be socially stunted like savants and prodigies always seem to be.
In fact, there are a few things she’s already doing preemptively, which is really exciting for someone who’s parenting without any sort of guidebook. It’s funny with kids because they just start doing something and you don’t even really notice or recognize it as a milestone until someone points it out to you. A lot of times when I was reading about her anticipated monthly accomplishments I found myself going, “Oh, well yeah, she’s been doing that for a while.” She’s been running and kicking for a few months now, she’s putting together small phrases (“It’s HOT!”, “Hi Kitties!” and “Hey doggie!” being her favorites), she’s sorting things by color, she’s able to recognize things even when in different forms, she turns letters and text right-side-up when she grabs a book (even when there are no pictures) and she’s doing a few other things that really aren’t due until later in the year.
So basically, what I learned is that, through absolutely no deliberate action on my part and no idea as to what I’m doing, I’m managing to not only keep my child up to par, but even enabling her to surpass the average. Um, yay me? I’m sure when this sort of thing is viewed by psychologists, they’d say that it has something to do with the individualized attention she’s been getting but I’m genuinely positive I’ve had nothing to do with this at all. All I do is play along with her and redirect her when she’s getting into something potentially hazardous. That’s it. No Montessori technique, no Dr. Spock recommendations, no playgroup-discussed methods. Nada. And it seems to be working.
And I am perfectly happy with continuing this lifestyle. After all, I want what’s best for my child.
Maybe I’ll write a book about it and coin “The Slacker Parent Method” (much different from the book “Slacker Mom” which was so horrible I couldn’t even finish it. The woman who wrote that wasn’t a slacker so much as a coldhearted, selfish bitch who probably should never have procreated in the first place. I want to start a therapy fund for her poor kids, especially knowing that this woman’s book sales have inevitably vindicated her atrociously apathetic attitude. ::shudder:: They’ve got a long road ahead of them.) I could become another “child expert” (heh… what a bullshit job title… kinda like “life coach”) and show up on panels and stuff. This could be very lucrative.