Saturday, November 28, 2009

Seeing the strengths in every child

We’ve started a weekly playdate with a friend of mine and her son. This friend and her husband both started college at age 15. It is no surprise that their son appears to be a little genius, probably the smartest baby I’ve come across.

I’ve been so excited lately with River’s increasing communication. Mark and I were both thrilled with his first complete sentence. But it took a little steam out of our excitement when this little boy, Samuel, came over, climbed onto the bar stool (which River cannot do), then announced, “I’m sitting on the white chair.”

“That’s an incredibly complex sentence,” Mark said. “He used a personal pronoun, a conjunction, a preposition and the correct color.” He was floored, the same way he is when he watches the Your Baby Can Read commercials and says, “I wish River could do that.”

Samuel is a special kid and Mark early on commented that he wanted Samuel to be in River’s peer group. Samuel’s dad also commented early on that he spotted the “sentience” he saw in his son in River and that was the first time he’d seen it in another baby. So I imagine they see something in River that will benefit their son.

It can be hard not to compare though and especially for Mark, to not feel disappointed. Yes, Samuel is a brilliant linguist at age 22 months. But he doesn’t eat well, he gets hurt often and requires vigilance due to his climbing, he still wakes his parents up twice a night, he doesn’t separate well and he has some health issues. OK, so River isn’t yet using complex sentences. But he eats, sleeps, separates and socializes without problem. He’s incredibly easygoing and his physical cautiousness means we don’t have to watch him so closely and he almost never gets hurt.

Each child is a unique little package, with their own strengths and challenges. I can admire the strengths of other children, but overall, I’m still proud of River’s entire package.

1 comment:

Lainey Wright said...

Oh, I so get this. It is a yucky feeling. We have a friend who is in a far higher social class & her baby has spent weeks in Hawaii & Florida & upstate NY, experiencing all these magical things meanwhile X chills on the living room floor surrounded by the same boring crop of toys. And this other baby is chattery & far more mobile, etc...I can't help but compare. But it is silly. Babies all develop at such different speeds & are all unique human beings with their own lot of skills & strengths.