Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Made, not born.

Me: What do parents of one child even do with their time?
Travis: They probably teach their kids things. 

Seriously. My kids might be dumbies. They each know a handful of signs, animals sounds that all sounds like "Oooh," (except hissing and roaring, which they sometimes do. If they see pics of dinosaurs), and about ten words that are all "Nena." (Grandma, Banana, Night-night {you know, like "goodnight"}  and No-no.)
But I'm convinced they say all those things and mean them to be different words.

But they still hardly ever wave, or speak, and sometimes when we're with their smart little friends who know a million words and can READ I feel like a lazy mom.
(They honestly have a friend who is younger than them, but recognizes written words. So maybe he can't read, but he'll clap when he sees the word "clap" and that's pretty dang impressive.)

I mean, I know Grey and Micah are smart. They know what's going on. They are really good at sorting and stacking and little games where you put something inside of something else. They know and recognize lots of people and friends, and love to look at books and stories, or flashcards on the iPad.
They point at things, and have recently starting pointing at things if you ask them where things are. (Like, "Where's Mama? Where's your hair? Do you see a puppy?")

And it makes me feel so angry that my smart little boys, who are totally good at everything and have been walking for longer than not, could be behind.
Like that somehow, with everything that I'm doing, it might not be enough.
I feed them whole, often-organic foods. They listen to lots of different music and we have dance parties. We play outside in the mud and I try to stop them from eating dirt.
Why isn't that enough?
Why do we all want our children to be little super human geniuses?

Why can't they just be normal without me feeling guilty and sub-par? Boo.
And that's not to mention all that religious business. I want my kids to know how to pray, and recognize a picture of Jesus, and want to serve and love their fellow man and all that jazz.
But usually dinner-time rolls around and they're screaming that they're hungry and I'm shoveling food on to their trays as fast as I can, and we're half-way through eating before I'm like, "WAIT!" We forgot to bless the food!" So Travis and I try to pray and the boys are yelling, because we stopped feeding them. And that's just at meal time. Try to imagine the chaos every other time of day.
There are no quiet moments to sit on Mama's lap and read Bible stories. It's just not happening.

Somedays I have grumpy mom days.
Somedays (today) I want to shout at passersby, "Stop teaching your children the colors!"
We were at my in-laws and they were playing a game, and counting, "1-2-3 GO!" and I wanted to smack myself. I forgot COUNTING. They need to learn to COUNT, don't they? And I wanted to find a hole to crawl in because I was so embarrassed.
It's stupid. I know this.
But for some reason it struck me.  I forgot to teach my kids how to count. Someday soon, someone will say, "How old are you?" and my kids will probably spit at that adult, because they're really into spitting right now. They certainly won't hold up one finger, all adorably, and there's no way that they'll say anything, (except perhaps, Eh! which they yell constantly, or nena which I could probably pretend is just babytalk for "Hello, good sir. I am fourteen months, thank you for asking. Pray tell, what is YOUR age?" and then the person would get all flustered, because adults hate to be asked their age.)

But really.
You people. Stop teaching your children the colors.
It makes me feel all... bleh when your kids know colors. And animals and words. And especially how to read and count. Oh! Or how to fold their arms while they're praying.
Don't teach them those things. Teach my kids instead.

Edit: since I posted this a few hours ago, Emily posted a link to this video in the comments. And I think you should all watch it, since I sat on my couch and sobbed while I watched it and felt much better afterward.

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Betsy Hite Reddoch said...

I have 16 month old twins and a singleton nephew that is 18 months old. I feel like my kids are total dumbies compared to my nephew. But then I think that they'll do the same thing in 2 months, or 3 at the most (accounting for prematurity). But they really don't. My nephew "reads" books, my kids eat books. I think that my two kids are more like second children who often don't get the same kid of "teaching" attention that singleton first children get. And they turn out JUST FINE. I'm doing my best and I know you are too. Toss off the guilt, you're a great mom.

Krystle said...

You know, it all just happens. I remember feeling that way with my firstborn, like holy cow I am the one responsible for EVERYTHING he learns right now! It's overwhelming. But we just read a lot, and we were repetitive, but I didn't do special movies, or "programs" or "school for babies" at home...we just lived. And one day it began, and he started showing me he WAS learning and it hasn't stopped.

Every kid will learn at his or her own pace, and that doesn't mean they are behind!!
Cut yourself some slack, and them too! They are perfect, and you are a fabulous Mom!

-Danica- said...

It's so true - I have a 20 month old little girl and I do have time to sit and read/teach her because I only have ONE. she knows quite a bit, but what does it really matter in the long run? They will all go to school and everything will even out. Heaven forbid our children wait to learn to read until school! Our culture has such an obsession with baby genius's (like you said) and I don't really think it's healthy. We get obsessed with making sure our child is progressing at the same rate as a "gifted" child that we forget to let our kids be what they are - KIDS. And I think you are doing a mighty fine job at that. Our job as mothers is to love, to nurture and to teach. You are loving your children, nurturing them, and teaching them that its okay to go at your own pace and explore the world around them. The other stuff will come on its own - enjoy where you're at right now :)

Molly S said...

Don't worry about it!! You have twins. I have ONE child, and I'm always nervous he's behind in certain areas. You also have to think about the fact that the boys have you at home. It's a big difference I've noticed. Kids in daycare or with siblings have to compete to get what they want in some ways. When you're with them 24/7, they have every single need met. (Not bashing working-moms. Ahh - you know what i'm saying) Why talk? They don't have to. As for learning, it's a curve. For the way you (and I - see my soapbox comment) raise our children, it's more adventure and imagination-based, as opposed to constant review of information. It'll all come. They ARE learning; we ARE teaching. They're boys, too, so that apparently means they're behind compared to girls.

Unknown said...

I have only one baby (9 month) but I don't have so much free time as you may think. I study for my master's degree and I have to write thesis while my baby is playing with his toys. Of course I play with him, try to teach him words, but when i say to him "Hey Stas, look at this. This is a table and this is a door" he make such face like "What are you talking about? You are probably crazy, mom". I don't think that I am bad mother, but I think that it is not right time. He will learn how to do different things when time comes.

tammy said...

You should not be hard on yourself at all. You are a great mom and all kids are so different. I was worried about Scarlett and her speaking and then she just suddenly exploded and started saying lots of words. You are spending lots of time with your kids and you give them lots of love and that's what they need.
As a working mom I feel so guilty that people teach my kids more than I do but here are some things I do to make up for it:
I sing the alphabet song as a lullaby song.
I count any stairs we walk up.
I respond to Scarlett like I understand her to encourage her to keep talking.
I point things out and tell her the names of things everywhere we go.
I read her books.

I bet you do most of those things too. Your kids are not behind at all. There are lots of moms who put too much stock in those little things and spend too much time trying to make sure their kids are smarter than the rest but I think in the end it doesn't matter all kids will catch up to them and their effort will be for nothing. Just keep doing what you are doing.
And seriously don't worry about the prayer thing. They can eat while you pray. It is just important for them to see you praying. One day they will pick up on it and fold their arms too but right now they are too young. Eva gets it but she still has to take just one bite before we pray. And my approach is to not be a stickler on it because I don't want her to hate praying.
Anyways, that's my long two sense. Let's have a play date. And I'm not proof reading so excuse typos.

Alissa Moghtaderi said...

Dude, I hear you. My kids hardly know anything and probably won't for a long time. Sam speaks only Farsi to them, Lindsey speaks only English to them, and I speak a pidgin of Farsi and English to them. So just when they think they know what to do what I say, "toop-e ghermez koo?" Lindsey says, "where's the red ball?" and means the same thing. Poor little suckers don't know which way is up!

But it's very unusual for a kid to go off to college without knowing how to count and which way is up, so I figure they'll catch up eventually.

Emily said...

Watch this Mormon Message. Elder Holland knows how you feel :)


Becky Pitcher said...

@ Emily
Thanks! I watched that like a year ago when my babies were very small, and it seemed sweet and I probably cried, but I needed it much more today. It was so lovely to be reminded that my children are evidence of God's trust in me. He knows I can do it! And not just that I can physically survive having twins, but that I am the best possible mother for my children.

Nana B said...

what are you nuts? THEY ARE ONLY 14 MONTHS OLD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! stop trying to make them grow up too fast, let them take their time. Kids don't need to be geniuses when they get to kindergarten, let them be. They will learn, and by the way, twins talk to each other in their own language, they don't need to talk in yours just yet. STOP PUSHING!!!!!!!! and driving yourself crazy. Sit back and enjoy each and every stage they will go through. Your Uncle Matt didn't talk until he was almost 3, and do you know what his IQ is? Yes we all know Kathryn talked early and learned early but stop and think about how many adults were in her life and constantly talking to her as if she were an adult, remember, she is the exception not the rule. Give yourself a break.

Mo said...

Our boys are the same age and mine aren't saying any more than yours. They have one syllable that they say in varying tones for about 10 different things, but we seem to know what they mean, so they probably don't care about learning more right now. I worry all of the time about development being ok. FYI - my boys aren't even walking yet, so your boys got us there :) Anyway, every child goes at their own pace and as long as you love them and support them they will grow up to be the best men they can be.

Katie B said...

woah woah woah- take a deep breath. These sorts of things aren't learned all of a sudden. It's little by little as your children show interest in them. And for goodness sake, they're only 14 months, they shouldn't yet know all the things you mentioned. Of course you hadn't thought of teaching them counting yet because they don't care about counting yet.

For us, they first started showing interest in the letters in their books, so we focused on that a lot because it excited them. Later we moved on to colors. Just now they're getting into numbers.

They still don't talk as much as many others their age. And that is REALLY hard to reconcile within yourself but you've got to realize it's their own pace- plus, twins (especially male twins) typically take much longer to "fluently" talk. One lady I ran into Target who also had twins anxiously asked how well my boys are talking and looked so relieved when I said they're a little delayed. "Phew," she said, "I always ask mothers of twins I meet. I want to know why mine are behind!" They aren't behind, just taking things at their own pace. What we moms do is fill in blanks when they want to know something and make them real happy in the meantime.

Don't worry, you have a lifetime of teaching ahead of you.

Carra Nicholes said...

You know....your opening conversation is highly offensive. Simply because you have two children does not mean you work any harder than parents of singleton children.

Emily said...

Becky, I'm so glad you liked it! I thought of it right away when I read your post. It's like my favorite Mormon Message ever--except possibly the Create one by Elder Uchtdorf. Also, just to let you know, my little boy is like three days younger than your boys, and he doesn't do a TON of the things your boys do, just so you know :)

amber said...

Parents of just one child are pretty busy, stressed, overwhelmed, exhausted and discouraged, too. And also feel like they are never enough for their child, no matter how much they try. Additionally, another perspective on twins vs. singleton is that in some ways, having two children the same age can be "easier" than two children of different ages. Your twins, as they get older, will be interested in similar activities and have similar abilities to participate in said activities--which in some ways, will make it easier to entertain and teach them. On the other hand, siblings of different ages and developmental abilities often want entirely separate types of playing and learning activities, making it harder for Mom to address each child's needs. I speak from experience--I have twins, plus two singletons. Go easy on yourself--Every mom feels she is not enough...ignore the voices in society telling you your children must be brilliant in all areas by the time they are 5. I'm pretty sure that voice comes from one source only, which in our LDS culture, would be referred to as the adversary. And Satan's only desire is to make you feel inadequate and discouraged. Don't let him!

Jessica said...

My biggest lesson as a parent has been to NOT compare myself to other parents and not compare my kids to other kids their age. :) It's tough, I know, but seriously we can all tell you're doing an amazing job through your blog!! And I'd rather see a mom letting her 1-year-olds roll in the dirt outside than sitting them down teaching them how to read words! Great post though - sometimes it's good to know that all moms probably have the same thoughts running through their mind.

Zaralex said...

My baby is only 5 months old and what I question myself all I do... and I suggest you do it too... is say "when they are 15 will they be able to walk, talk, and eat?" yes. So I am not going to worry about it now... and then I feel better :) Of course I am hoping he will be awesome, and smart and talented... but all I do know is that if I give him too much formula or am not using the right toys for development, blah blah... he will survive and be a happy 15 year old :)

Unknown said...

Oh man, I feel ya! I have been slightly paranoid about the girls reaching their developmental milestones, but then I realized that since they were five weeks early they are going to be behind anyways...so now I use that as my excuse whenever someone asks me if they do this yet or do that, "no, not yet, they were early." Works every time! It all evens out eventually, at least I'm really hoping it does, otherwise we're screwwwwwed!

Unknown said...

Oh man, I feel ya! I have been slightly paranoid about the girls reaching their developmental milestones, but then I realized that since they were five weeks early they are going to be behind anyways...so now I use that as my excuse whenever someone asks me if they do this yet or do that, "no, not yet, they were early." Works every time! It all evens out eventually, at least I'm really hoping it does, otherwise we're screwwwwwed!

LaurenLC said...

What an offensive thing to say... Do you honestly think that parents of one child have a ton of extra time? I hate to break it to you, but you have TWO kids, not TEN... I understand that your life might be slightly more chaotic, but it's not like one kid can't do the same thing.