Last night as I was cleaning up the remnants of dinner, my husband came in from the playroom where he had been entertaining the kids.
“We really have not done right by Isabelle.”
He said with a shake of his head and a little chuckle.
He went on to explain his recollection of Zachary at her age. By 18 months, his vocabulary was chock full of deliciously polysyllabic words and could identify animals I never knew existed. As our only child, we had hours to devote undivided attention to looking at picture books and teaching him new things. He would suck up each new word like a sponge.
His favorite book was First 100 Animals. Nothing is more adorable than an 18 month old pointing to an animal and saying “Koockaburra” or “Furry Wombat” or Cockatoo”
We would say it, he would repeat it and remember it.
Then along came baby number two. Isabelle has had about 90 percent less than her older brother in the undivided attention category. In fact, until she comes waddling toward me, book in hand yelling “book! book!” over and over until she finally hits me in the knees with it to get my attention, I often forget to sit and read with her.
She loves books and happens to share Zachary’s taste in colorful literature. However, when we open the animal book, she points to each picture and says “Cow!” We were at the Zoo last weekend and saw many cows. Cows with feathers, cows with wings, cows with scales, cows with snouts, cows with manes….”Cow! Cow! Cow!”
I’m not however concerned about her intellect in the slightest. There is a twinkle and understanding in her eye that says she is smart as a whip, borderline scary. When we actually take the time to teach her a word, she repeats it perfectly. Go figure. You have to actually teach your children things.
We like to think we are conducting a social experiment. What happens when one child is calmly tutored with little distraction, and therefore at two years, 9 months has the conversational skills of a 10-year-old, and the other is left to grab scraps of vocabulary from whatever she can catch by watching the world around her as it whizzes by? My
hope hypothesis is that it will all even out in a year or two. We shall see.
What does Isabelle think of this experiment? In her own words?