And now the part, where I sound like I’m bragging
With the verbal leap has come a shocking intellectual one. Shocking to me, because I not one of those Alpha Moms who reads chapter books to her child before bed time, reads quality parenting books, and actively devises lesson plans. Rather, I am a mom who tries to disguise boredom when asked to read Brown Bear six times in a row. We actually own very few toddler books (I prefer to check them out from the library), and several of the ones we do own consist of nothing more than a picture letter or number on each page and a pretty illustration or photo. So, I was a bit caught off guard one day in May when we pulled up to one of our local grocery chains and she began to point and shout. “O! O! OOoooOOO!” from the back seat.
Since this occurred during The Period of Acquiring Many New Words, I assumed at first that her O was just a general sound of excitement. But she was pointing wildly, and continued to point and shout O as I released her from the car seat and plopped her into a cart. It was only then that I realized she was pointing at the large letters on the front of the store: V O N S.
How does she know that’s an O?!
Soon, O would be joined by A, Y, E, I, and U. By mid-June, she would be able to sit on my lap and say almost every letter out loud (F, S, and R are the exceptions. She can point to these when I say them, but she lacks the motor skills to form these sounds yet). Pointing out letters and naming them is now her favorite past time. She also likes to write them, but her handwriting is purely imaginary at this point. It amounts to scribbles on a paper, and I’m honestly in no rush for it to progress any further.
On a similar note, she has decided in the past week that she loves to count to ten (always skipping seven, though. It’s a number she recognizes when asked, but I’m guessing it’s a pronunciation issue again). I don’t think there is anything worth noting about by-rote counting as this is merely recitation. What shocked me was that, like the alphabet, she has learned what the numbers 0 through 10 look like and she can name them as objects. she also has at least a rudimentary understanding of there being a sense of order and counting because we can tell her that she may have have two or three tomatoes and she attempts to count them (not always successfully).
I’m noting this here because I know it’s unusual. I’m not placing any meaning on it, I’m merely noting it as a quality that is unique to her (much like her strange eye color or late growing teeth). Actually, placing any meaning at all terrifies me. I am too imperfect, too flawed, and often too self-absorbed to be a mother to an unusual child. The idea that my resources–financial, intellectual, emotional–may be inadequate to give her what she needs chills me to bones. I google “22-month baby recognize letters” and my results turn up nothing tangible. Like so many mothers who have searched longingly, but for very different reasons, I’m looking to see her placement on the milestone chart. I want to be safe in the knowledge that she’s somewhere n that curve, and just like everyone else. She can’t use a shape sorter. That evens things out, right?