ABCDon’t

I tweeted the following fairly innocuous tweet the other night “Is it unusual that Spencer that knows all the letters (shape and sound) before 18 months? #dontknowwhatnormalis” I realized after the fact that I used shape and sound wrong, he just knows shape and name. So I tweeted that too. Most of the responses were pretty supportive. One person said that her son knew them at a similar age, most people said it was unusual, but not unheard of. Someone asked how we taught him. It was a pretty standard variety of answers for twitter.

And then I got a few Direct Messages (DMs). For those not familiar with twitter, a DM is a private message that can be sent to anyone who “follows” you.  So, I was already following this person, although it wasn’t someone I interacted with very often. This person sent me a message privately to tell my I was a horrible mother and should shut the hell up. What? What?

It was broken up in to a few messages and the grammar and spelling was questionable enough that I refuse to repost them here, but in summary: I shouldn’t taunt people on twitter with my smart son. I obviously knew it was advanced or I wouldn’t have asked. I think other peoples kids are stupid. I shouldn’t make my child learn stuff against his will. And so on. And blocked.*

I looked through her other tweets and they seemed relatively innocuous, so I must have hit a nerve. But still. I personally don’t think this was in any way appropriate. I really was just asking. I didn’t really babysit. I stopped reading baby books. I have NO IDEA when a child is likely to learn his ABCs. I was thinking 2. I thought I would ask because it is fun to ask twitter instead of using google. It was, at first.

It really hit home because Spencer took to learning words so easily that I wondered if we were pushing him. But he loves it. He is so excited about the letters. He seeks them out. He lists them unprovoked. I’ve been afraid to talk about it because I didn’t want to hear it from people who say we need to let kids be kids. He is a toddler, an adorable toddler who likes to name letters while wearing nothing but rain boots and a cape.

This aptitude for language before he is even 18 months old already had me concerned and I can’t pinpoint why. Is it linked to the hitting? The sleep issues? He can recognized a few spelled words. That makes me think he is some sort of lingual circus freak. Hubs seems to think he might have a photographic memory. What would this mean for a sibling? As the less academically inclined younger sibling of a smart, well-educated, aggressively academically inclined sister, I can tell you that it really, really sucked being compared to someone smarter than I was every grade, every year, nearly every class.

And what does it mean as a parent? I want to make sure he has the resources he needs.** Obviously what we are doing now is working, but what about the future? I was worried enough and now should I worry that I might upset someone because my kid does something her child can’t? I will not do that. I think the biggest thing that hit home it that I really need to clean up my social media interactions. This blog, twitter and all the assorted accouterments are a hobby. Hobbies are not supposed to make you feel bad. Time to clean house. I am trying to make 2011 full of the happy.

*And if anyone is curious, I will not be naming the tweeter. I think calling someone out by twitter handle when they have upset you solves nothing.

**Edited to add: I am not just worried because he knows his ABCs. He knows over 100 words and 10 numbers, and all of the major body parts, including randoms like hips and ankles. He also recognized a few plurals. At least he still can’t kick a ball.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Tags: , , , , ,

27 Responses to “ABCDon’t”

  1. Joanna says:

    That’s ridiculous! Good for Spencer!

    Madison counts to five. I think that is pretty advanced, but I don’t think telling people that she does it is “flaunting.” She can’t figure out where her nose, mouth & ears are… and always points to the wrong one. You take some, you lose some :)

    [Reply]

    Amy Reply:

    Exactly. He is not so physically gifted. He freaks out when he accidentally kicks a ball and he can’t quite get the sit down and push part of going down the slide. Thanks for your comment! Sometimes the non-supportive aspects of social media make me feel like I am in jr high all over again.

    [Reply]

  2. TMae says:

    Are you kidding me? I don’t understand WHY people think that Facebook and Twitter are places to act like jackasses. You don’t like what someone is saying? DON’T READ IT. Or read it and fume about it, and MAYBE leave some sort of constructive comment like, “I disagree.” But, “You’re a bad mom,”? No. Ridiculous. I’m sorry that happened. I’m not sure I would be as magnanimous as you’re being. I’ve been known to go a little overboard when I get pissed. (Read: feel attacked.)

    I’m insanely jealous of Spencer’s mad skillz. O is only just mastering 3-4 words at 16 months. And mama or dada? Still hasn’t gotten it. I think it’s awesome that you’re engaging him.

    Something you posted last week (the week before? time all runs together these days) made me actually think, “Huh, well, maybe if we got him some things with letters and whatnot on them, he might be interested.” There ya go, lazy parenting FTW.

    [Reply]

    Amy Reply:

    You know what book he loves? The A to Z book by Sandra Boynton. Even if she was really lazy with U. Ugly birds, uglying. Really Sandra? There was nothing else you could think of.

    [Reply]

  3. Slee says:

    How dare you play educational games with your son? Don’t you know that learning things that will be useful in life, at the parent’s behest is STRICTLY forbidden by the code of snooty parenting?
    Ugh. No hope for you.
    /endsarcasm

    Seriously though, I think it’s great that you’re working on developing your son’s linguistic skills and reading skills. These are areas in which, statistically, boys tend to lag behind girls, so I’m doubly happy for you.

    I’m sorry that someone pissed in some tweeter’s cornflakes and she took it out on you.

    As for siblings, every child is an individual, and they learn to relate to one another regardless of their matched or unmatched aptitudes in any of the various areas of intelligence.

    Keep up the good mothering.

    [Reply]

    Amy Reply:

    Thank you. I know, I should be ashamed of myself for letting him play with foam letters instead of plastic bags, knives or bb guns. Or, god forbid, DOLLS. He is a boy after all. I love that you could make me laugh about this.

    [Reply]

  4. Oh wow… Just ignore that person. They are obviously just jealous. Everyone EVERYONE including that person unknowingly brags about their kids achievements. I’m not saying you were boasting. You asked a legit question but to her it was bragging. So what? Who doesn’t take pics of their kid first crawling, walking, eating with a fork, etc. and post it for the world to see?

    And yes, Spencer is gifted in that case. Go Spencer! Keep it up, little man!

    My older daughter was like that. At age 4, she was tested to have the IQ of an 8 year old. Yes, I’m bragging. I’m extremely proud. I didn’t drill her. I just played with her and talked to her. A LOT. About anything and everything, because she didn’t know anything and it was my job to teach her. She could do the Pledge of Allegiance just before her first birthday.

    My second is not so vocal. She knows words and is very physical, can climb ANYTHING, can copy hand movements very very well (wiggle fingers all independantly on keyboard instead of banging it, sign for food, water, “Up”, etc.). At first, I thought maybe she’s not as gifted but I realized Mommy doesn’t have as much time for her. Yet, she still picks things up.

    Feel blessed. And don’t worry just because, as the women above said, this one person was jealous. She probably also calls a woman a “b—-” walking by who looks better than her rather than worrying about herself. Such is life…

    [Reply]

    Amy Reply:

    I think kids develop differently and they all have their little toddler superpowers. For some it is physical, some verbal, some temperament, some sleeping, some drawing. Spencer is hyper verbal but eats crayons and falls over when he tries to kick to high. It is what it is. Thank you so much for your comment.

    [Reply]

  5. the grumbles says:

    um… weird? sounds like a very bizarre overreaction. i took your tweet in no way as bragging and assumed you were asking an actual question. and who cares? even if you WERE straight-up bragging that’s what twitter friends are for. i’d shoot you a high-five! kudos to you and your smart little dude. i can tell you with zero shame that the jude at 17 months is nowhere near that. he’s always been a slow talker and slow with the vocab.

    [Reply]

    Amy Reply:

    I think it was an overreaction; I just had to write it out to get it out of my head. It is kind of like how I am happy for people with their much more physically advanced kids. Woohoo and good for them. I am not going to yell at them or let them make me feel bad that my kid can’t kick or catch a ball.

    [Reply]

  6. Midwest Elle says:

    I am wildly jealous. That is SO awesome that he knows all of that. M has 5 words. And by words I mean sounds. Your son is very advanced. I can understand and appreciate your worries about it, but coming from the other side of the spectrum, I can also greatly understand how someone would be upset. It deeply deeply deeply hurts a mother when someone else talks about all these things their child is doing when yours isn’t close to that. At all. It is a deep and searing pain.

    [Reply]

    Amy Reply:

    Kids grow at different levels. Spencer is a talker. He is on pace or behind with some of the physical skills, he shows no artistic aptitude at all and he doesn’t sleep. The toddler years are so tricky and comparison is so hard at this stage. I think it mostly evens out by kindergarten. Thanks for your comment and I am sorry if my words have hurt you in any way, but I can’t help but he proud of my son.

    [Reply]

  7. Natalie says:

    I get so uncomfortable when people start comparing and contrasting their children to mine; I know it is human nature, but I tend to hide their abilities because I don’t want people to feel like their child is inferior.

    Because they’re not. Kids are all different. What they do now may NOT be indicative of their future success or failure. I would like to believe they will always embrace learning, but who knows? They are still regular kids.

    They both throw tantrums, they both act like normal kids.

    [Reply]

  8. lishyloo says:

    well i think it’s wonderful! go with it for sure. my firstborn is an early reader as well (he’s also crazy advanced in numbers) and seriously, i am with you, NOTHING i forced on him at all. he is just interested in it, i think some kids just concentrate more on things like letters/numbers while some focus on other things.

    on another not all about ME note, i am saddened this person was mean about it, clearly a jealousy issue. some people must have nothing better to do than harass people on twitter.

    love that little boy and relish in his interest, it’s pretty damn great

    lishyloo

    [Reply]

    Amy Reply:

    Thanks for your kind words. Everyone’s support has meant so much. It is really the first time something like that happened to me. I was worried that people would think we were strapping him in his high chair and making him learn letters for snacks. I’m glad to hear about other little boys who like their letters.

    [Reply]

  9. Alison says:

    First of all, what is wrong with people?! I’m always amazed when people react the way that woman did. I have two sons, the oldest sounds alot like Spencer. He started talking (a lot) early on and learned his letters, numbers and tons of animals without any pushing from us. To us, he’s very smart, and we take no credit. He’s just smart. He’s also incredibly srongwilled, which is a challenge for me. Our younger sons was a late talker. And although he now talks a lot, he doesn’t know half the things his brother did at his age. He is also incredibly sweet and obedient. Not the tiniest bit strongwilled. They are
    completely different. And that’s ok.
    You should be allowed to be proud of your son and his accomplishments without ridicule from others. I think he sounds super smart :)

    [Reply]

    Amy Reply:

    Thanks so much for your comment. The description of your kids sounds a lot like me and my sister. I said a few words and then didn’t talk again until I was 3 because she did all of my talking for me. I’ve decided she must have a late talker and I hit a nerve, but the effort it takes to send that many DMs for something so trivial amazes me.

    [Reply]

  10. Emily says:

    So did you respond – or leave it? How rude. There are better ways to respond if she felt like you were Bragging – obviously you have made it clear you weren’t.

    As far as is the advance language linked to his outbursts. My pedi says it is. I actually saw our pedi today for Squishy’s 18 month appt (only 1.5 months late) when I told him all the words he says and phrases he uses, he told me that is pretty high above normal. He said smart children his age are often harder to parent. They tend to be more stubborn, and are often hard to redirect – I felt like he was describing my son to a T!
    My son is a wonderful boy – but he is very inquisitive, and needs to be doing something all the time.
    So long answer – I would imagine your issues are linked to the fact that you have a smart child who needs to constantly be challenged. :)
    Cute idea with the bag and letters!! :)

    [Reply]

    Amy Reply:

    Thanks so much for your comment. I had a feeling it was linked and he is very inquisitive and stubborn. I did not respond to her DMs. I deleted them and unfollowed her so I wouldn’t be tempted to do anything. The bag is actually from a block set. I was going to buy something to hold the letters because they kept getting everywhere and then I remembered I had the bad.

    [Reply]

  11. Kim says:

    I think it’s awesome your son enjoys letters and words and is showing aptitude for something at an early age. My younger brother was also obsessed with letters and words at a young age. By two, he became obsessed with spelling every word he learned, and then it was spelling backwards. My mom was concerned, but he had great teachers in daycare that supported his abilities and kept him challenged. Although at 20 years old, he can now still rattle off the ABCs backwards super fast, he did not turn into a circus freak. His interests shifted continuously as he got older- music, then science, etc. My son is currently obsessed with cats. I hope that changes soon :P

    [Reply]

  12. Eileen says:

    One word. One word only.

    ASS

    [Reply]

  13. Erin says:

    OMG, my children are dumb! No I’m playin’!
    That’s amazing that he’s so into learning…just tell people it’s in the genes….YOURS! ha

    And my mom always said she worried about me burning out, on learning, on school and all that, only thing that happened was I was bored and she had to challenge me more!

    And he’s getting soooo big, he’s adorable!!!

    [Reply]

    Amy Reply:

    Thanks! I think he is such a cutie. I love that he loves learning, I do. It is just that the DMs took me by such surprise I thought I was doing something wrong or he was doing something wrong. I way overthought it and then just needed to write it out.

    [Reply]

  14. jill says:

    isnt it hilarious how different kids develop?!? just when im freaking out about corbin being behind on something he goes above and beyond it days later. i was freaking out he wasnt crawling at nine months and then BAM, he started running all over the place! haha seriously though, i hope you didnt take that comment to much to heart. people are dumb. and ps. i totally just went out and bought bath tub letters because of this exact tweet the other day! so thanks to you for inspiring me to start teaching corbin letters…if he feels like it that is! :)

    [Reply]

    Amy Reply:

    Spencer was a late crawler, I think it might have been 10 months. So stressful and then they walk so soon. Good luck with the letters! Spencer likes to chew on them too, so all else fails, they will make a good teether!

    [Reply]

  15. […] isn’t the first time someone has been a jerk to me on twitter and I am sure it won’t be the last, but it is the first time twitter made me cry. Now, while […]

Leave a Reply



Grab my button!


button

Topics

Syndicated on BlogHer.com

I like to link up with:


Thirty Hand Made Days