Because she attends a cooperative school, I am required to work in her classroom once a month. I had my first experience there last week, and I had a chance to observe 12 other two-year-olds. Some of them have just turned two, while others, like The Poo, are on the tail end of this developmental stage.
I’ve often had occasion to revel in The Poo’s intelligence. She speaks remarkably well for a child her age, and she is already trying to spell letters and write her own name. Her frustration when she cannot accomplish these tasks tells me two things: she wants to get it right, and she knows her efforts aren’t making that happen.
She also learned shapes, colors and counting early on, giving me no end of smug satisfaction at my own ability to produce a smart child.
But when I saw all the kids drinking from Dixie cups last week, and The Poo demanded her sippy cups repeatedly, or when she refused to even try a taste of a new food during snack time, I saw in stark relief my own failures to nurture her development.
It didn’t help that another mother in the class gave a me a very negative assessment of my child’s personality.
All of a sudden, I am questioning where she is on the bell curve.
My daughter will be three in December, and she refuses to drink from a regular cup. She still sleeps in her crib. She needs me to sit with her until she falls asleep. She eats only waffles, bananas, macaroni and cheese, fries, grilled cheese and chicken strips.
She won’t play by herself for more than 15 minutes. She needs my full attention all the time. This behavior is such a hindrance that I am forced to hire a babysitter just to clean the house.
She can count, but she rushes through so she makes mistakes. She often pretends she doesn’t know the answer to a question, or gives the wrong one on purpose. She is not potty trained.
On a recent trip to a natural setting with a friend, she cried and sat down, refusing to walk one more step. She cried every time a playmate came near her, or yelled playfully. I know she wasn’t feeling well – her severe allergies were triggered by the leaves and other flora on the trails we walked – but I was embarrassed nonetheless by what I perceived as her lack of maturity.
Other children her age or younger do not behave this way. The kids she plays with and interacts with at school seem to have a level of maturity that my girl does not possess.
And you know what? It sucks to see your child’s faults. Because it seems to me that these quirks, these “faults,” are a result of my parenting. Somewhere along the line, I did not teach her these things.
So I sit and I cry and I think, “I am holding her back.”
by A.L. Hatch
[tags]kids, children, parents, rearing, learning, growing, growth, maturity, school, evaluation, progress, responsibility[/tags]
Photo graciously provided by |ash|, through a Creative Commons license, some rights reserved