Recently, we visited the pediatrician for Heidi's 2.5 year check-up. Aside from the excessive questions about why I don't give my children milk, one part of the conversation stuck out for me, enough that it is still bothering me to this moment.
Pediatrician: "Can she count to at least ten?"
Me: "Um...no...She has counted up to as much as six before, but, um.. no."
Pediatrician: "Does she know her colors?"
Me: "Uh..she's doing a lot better with them...she has been picking them out a lot more recently..."
Me: "But she knows a lot of other things...She can recognize most animals, even ones like elephants and zebras..."
I have many problems with this, obviously, but before I get into that, here are some of the things Heidi does know (or can do):
- She knows the difference between an airplane and a helicopter, recognizes trains, bridges, cars, trucks, jeeps, motorcycles and especially garbage trucks.
- She can identify most animals, including (but not limited to) cats, dogs, birds, frogs, turtles, fish, elephants, giraffes, horses, cows, ducks, chickens, geese, crabs, bears and bugs (yes, I know they're not technically animals...)
- She has known all her body parts for well over a year now.
- She knows that sitting in the driver's seat of the car, she should put the key in the ignition. Yes, this is so thrilling to me.
- She has know that a key is used to unlock a door for well over a year, despite me saying anything to her about it.
- When she pees in her diaper, she takes it off and puts it in the laundry room. (This makes more sense if you know that we cloth diaper.)
- She says, "Thank you" for almost everything and is starting to also add "Please" and "No, Thank You" to her repertoire.
- She loves to "cook." In fact, this is how 80%+ of her play pans out. (No pun intended.) She usually "makes" soup, dishes it out on to various "plates" and serves it to all of us complete with spoons.
- She understands 'Canal etiquette,' meaning she automatically moves aside to allow other people to pass when we are walking there (e.g. bikers, runners).
- When playing with other children (not Piper) she is always polite enough to give them back their toys when they get upset about sharing.
- She knows the moon, stars, sun, rain and wind and has now started telling me when it's light or dark outside and when it's raining.
- She loves to draw with any medium she is given. She is also particularly fond of gluing things into a collage and wiping the glue all over herself.
- She is intensely musical. She dances and sings every day, plays one of the various instruments we have (harmonicas, recorders, drums) and loves movies with music in them. I don't ever want this passion to be stifled.
I'm currently taking a class at my church and this past Sunday, one thing spoken by the teacher really struck me (though I unfortunately must paraphrase because I didn't write it down).
If you give a child blocks with letters on them, the child has infinite possibilities. When you teach them to spell, their possibilities are suddenly limited, restricted. This is how I feel about Heidi "knowing her numbers and colors." Right now, she has endless possibility in her life. She has the rest of her life to conform to the rules society imposes on her and know the things she's "supposed to know." I will not limit her potential (yet) with these finite rules.
Often, when I ask her what a specific color is, she says, "color." It wasn't until just the other day that it hit me just how ingenious this is. Of course it's color! Does knowing which color it is make the finger paint any squishier in her fingers? Does it make the markers any more fun to play with or the crayons any less vibrant? If there were no names for colors, would we know their distinctions any less? It is color; it doesn't have to be anything else.
So no, my daughter can't count to ten because my daughter is limitless.