I have never been the type of person who proclaims “Genius!” whenever a child learns or picks up new skills. While I would smile warmly at the parents who had just bragged about how their kid is already reading at the age of 3, I would think inside my head, “Pssh. Lots of people know how to read.”
I have found myself holding Claire to similar standards as well. Yes, I am happy whenever she reaches new milestones, and praise her greatly for them. But unless I see her doing something so extraordinary — something I know only a very few other kids can do — I will continue in thinking that she is a perfectly normal and ordinary baby. A baby I love more than life itself, yes, but an ordinary baby all the same.
Besides, one can’t really measure the success or accomplishments of a person until said person is at least mature enough to hold a basic conversation, no?
With all that being said, I am only just starting to realize how much babies learn just by observing the world around them. How sponge-like their minds are, and how much smarter they are than the world — as well as I, even as a mother — give them credit for.
I have already mentioned how Claire has learned to shake her head “no,” wave “hi” and “bye,” and even associate the words that go along with those actions without any of our assisting or prompting. Yesterday, she added a new physical gesture to her arsenal: clapping her hands when I clap or say “Yay!!!”
While I do read to Claire quite often, I do not actively seek to teach her anything, at least not yet. I try my best to try to get her to pick things up at her own pace and just usually let her do her own thing…but now I am starting to realize that I should start to consciously make an effort to teach my daughter all the little things that will (hopefully) stay with her for the rest of her life.
That includes manners and common courtesy. For example, using the proper greeting and bowing whenever an elder enters or leaves the room (I will start doing this to J whenever he leaves for work in the morning too, so that she can learn by example). Even praying before she eats.
Yesterday was also the moment when I realized that we really need to start watching what we say around her too. J and I do not cuss much, but we have been known to let out expletives here and there. But, from now on, we will need to enforce a “no swearing” rule if our children may be listening. Even if that means enacting “Earmuffs!” in the manner of Old School.