Sunday, May 31, 2015

Parenting month 55: ability vs. effort

Reading Dr Seuss for his baby sister
Reading Dr. Seuss for his little sister
In addition to our little Mexican vacation, this month saw A (12 months) becoming much more capable. She is beginning to stand, manipulate objects with her hand, and can communicate her desires.  The last is very important, because it means that the biggest obstacle to toilet training is taken care of, and her being able to communicate her desires removes much of the frustration that leads to tantrums.

T has begun copying his pre-kindergarten classmates more, and unfortunately the group he imitates is going through a baby talk phase. (we (the parents) have been able to trace it back to one girl in particular who is the origin of this).  We are hoping this is something that will pass in short order. In the meantime, we do not hesitate in letting him know we don't like it (generally emphasizing that to do fun stuff with us he has to make sure we know what he is saying!)

As A grows up, we are starting to identify divergence in how A and T developed. By the end of the first year, colic had already passed for T, although this still showed in delayed development.  But by this point T had begun displaying the focus and attention span that was beyond the norm for a toddler.  In contrast, A has the standard 1 year old length of focus (almost none) but she gives the impression of being thoughtful and smart. First, the fact that she is able to effectively communicate relatively specific and complex desires (given the fact that she cannot actually say any words.) She also can multi-task. If she is prevented from doing something, she can shift tasks until her original goal becomes attainable, she then drops what she is doing to get the original goal.  In contrast, T's main characteristic was persistence and focus, which in many cases overcomes lack of raw ability.

Making an ant at Animal Secrets, Carnegie Museum of Natural History
Building an ant

We are seeing that this will lead to different sets of challenges. Discipline with T was based on providing an object of focus, then encouraging him as he achieved his object.  A is more like other toddlers, shifts from object to object, but she will either succeed or fail quickly.  T liked to stay with things to completion. A will shift focus once her objective is realized.

All that is in the future.  Our current task, getting T ready for Kindergarten.  Mommy summer school is in full force.  Daddy school is going on outing and playing games :-P
Post a Comment