Sunday, December 18, 2005

"Stimpily Happy One Two The Christmas Time"

Now, imagine this entry's title sung to the tune of a popular Christmas song performed by Paul McCartney. That's right, Sweetie was entertaining us yesterday with her own version of "Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time". Very creative.

Sweetie has been able to talk very well for quite some time now. We have no problem understanding her wants and needs and she is very clear about expressing her creative ideas in words and song. In fact, she typically uses an over abundance of words to get her ideas across. "Mommy, can you come to my pretty room with me and you sleep around of me in my big girl bed?" and "Grampy, can you please pick me up so that I can see the balloons on the Christmas tree much better?" are two examples of her verbose sentence structure.

Given Sweetie's excellent grasp of language, it still surprises me how much she takes the things she hears at face value. Meaning, for instance, her understanding of the McCartney song above. She's only heard this song a couple of times, but what she believes is being said is "Stimpily Happy One Two The Christmas Time". Doesn't she get that that just doesn't make any sense?

Or, when watching T.V. recently, Dora the Explorer was visiting various animals, some of which were quite rare and exotic. Sweetie would ask me what the different animals were and it occurred to me that I could have said they were anything, and Sweetie would have believed me. I could have said, for instance, that the umbrella bird was a pumpernickel and Sweetie would have said, "Oh, that's a pumpernickel" quite seriously.

Anyway, Sweetie does understand quite a lot. And she does occasionally tell us when things "not even make any sense." So imagine my surprise when I read in a parenting magazine recently that, by the time a child is 3 - years old, they should be able to speak in three word sentences.

Heck, we just saw my cousin yesterday with her 22- month old daughter who was already clearly speaking five word sentences!

And then there's our babysitter's daughter, who was speaking full sentences (albeit not very complex) before age one. And at age 20 months or so, declared that her favorite 2 songs were "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" and "Landslide" by the Dixie Chicks! Oh yeah, and she also loved "Mary Poppins" at this age and could say "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious."

Is it just me, or is the magazine's study purposefully setting the standard very low so that parents don't get overly concerned about their child's development, or are my husband and I, and the other parents we know, just doing an exceptional job of raising and teaching our children?

I'd like to think we're doing an excellent job - and I do believe this. I also have been told that Sweetie is very smart for her age. But seeing the development of all the other children in our lives around her age has shown me that she's not that far better or worse than any of them.

My husband and I also sometimes feel that we don't play enough with Sweetie - or ever have. We've often supervised her as she explores her own little world and learns to entertain herself with her toys and imagination. But we don't feel that we've truly interacted with her during playtime as much as we should have.

But I'm now thinking that this is not a bad thing. Learning to entertain herself and develop her own creativity has done her a world of good in her social skills and ability to self satisfy herself. Since as young as 6 months or so she has been able to quietly look at picture books and magazines for up to 20 minutes or more at a time.

This has been a lifesaver for me as a disabled mom, I must say. Not having to constantly hold, comfort and actively run around with her to occupy her time and make her happy has really been a necessity for both her and me.

Now, though, at 2 days away from 3 years old, things are changing (as I've reported here before). Now she's looking for a lot more interaction and entertainment from her mommy and daddy, and she's especially interested in daddy comforting her and picking her up to make her happy.

But playing Candyland, Caraboo, activity books and Memory with her, and talking with her about the rules of the various games, is a lot of fun for my husband and I. So great to help her learn from the activities in which we're all engaged.

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