I've been curious lately about what life was like when Daughter was the age Son currently is. So I paged back in this blog to June '05 to see what I was writing about her when she was 22 months of age. Since she was my first child, I didn't fully realize just how precocious she was (and still is). My friends with their own children this age or nieces and nephews this age told me Daughter was a "genius." The workers in the church nursery told me she was the smartest baby they had ever seen. I didn't really know what they were talking about. The only baby I'd ever really known was my girl.
At 22 months, she was correctly labeling all the primary colors as well as orange, pink, brown, black, gold, etc. She could also consistently count to 5 correctly and some of the time count to 10 but tended to get 7 and 9 mixed up. She consistently knew that 11 and then 12 follow 10.
She knew all the major shapes (circle, square, star, triangle) as well as oval, rectangle, and even pentagon!
It was around this time that she began completing her entire wooden alphabet puzzle in a matter of minutes, though she didn't yet say all the letter names and instead referenced them by the phonetic object for which they stood (i.e. the letter "h" was called "hat").
She could sing, "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" correctly from beginning to end and excerpts from "Lullaby and Goodnight." And before turning 23 months she was potty trained.
Son is no dummy, to be sure. However, he doesn't get the same intense one on one tutoring that daughter got simply because she was the one and only at that time. At not quite 22 months, he correctly identifies and verbalizes circle, square, star, triangle. He can do about 8 letters consistently correct with this alphabet puzzle. He's just begun to speak in sentences and "near sentences" that are more like two word phrases. He hasn't begun to sing words yet, but sings little melodies of nonsense syllables (thanks to a goofy habit I have when I'm just about the house). He correctly identifies the colors yellow and orange and sometimes gets blue, green, black. He wants nothing to do with the potty except to say, "potty!" when his sister goes and to squat on his stool and pretend to potty. He won't squat on his real potty, though. If I try to place his naked buns on his toddler-sized throne, he stands rigid and screams "Britches! Britches!" until I put his britches back on.
He does have a wicked overhand throw, which is something that Daughter didn't grasp until much later, and he is trying to jump, which looks more like a squat to a quick stand followed by the stomping of his foot. He's been doing this for months.
While he is still very much on track, I feel a bit guilty like I've been neglecting him in relation to the focus Daughter got on a constant one on one basis. She always wanted to learn and chose the activities that centered around cognitive development. I just followed her lead. Son has too many distractions. There are far more toys between the two of them than there were in the house when Daughter was his age. Now I have two to chase around, and my attention requires division. I haven't failed, I know that. Daughter is a prodigy of sorts, and it's not fair to compare--not that it would be fair if she wasn't a prodigy of sorts. And I understand that girls tend to be much more verbally advanced while boys tend to excel more in the motor development at this age. Nevertheless, I have to battle the little voice in my head that says I am not nurturing his cognitive development enough...especially after reviewing the reference point that started this whole guilt trip, though a guilt trip was not at all intended.
I got to hold Dear Son tonight until he fell asleep. I got to feel the weight of his body against my chest and feel his sleepy baby sighs. I got to feel his little toddler-sized muscles relaxing and twitching and hear his tiny breaths grow deeper. I got to smell his baby smell and feel his fuzzy hair against my cheek. His contentment to simply be held was warm and comforting for me. I couldn't help imagining a day when his tiny little body is no longer tiny, but tall and solid and larger than my own, and so I held him a little closer and a little longer tonight and focused on being thankful for such moments as these. His "little" body is now big enough that it is quite difficult to lift him, while sleeping, over the crib rail. His feet dangle low and bump against it. And he is heavy enough now that it is quite difficult to lay him gingerly against his mattress. Instead, it's a bit clumsy and awkward. Nonetheless, I cherish the moments that will soon evaporate into distant memories.