Every night I bathe with Lydia. A lot of times we sing together, play with her bath toys, write in bath foam or with bath markers. It's a nice bonding experience for us. I think she enjoys it as much as I do. Today she picks up a washcloth and the following occurs:
Lydia: Mama, what's this?
Me: A washcloth
Lydia: Hm, butt
She then proceeds to scoop a bunch of bubbles on to the washcloth and scrub her bottom with it. I know this doesn't sound very significant, but lately we're having conversational exchanges. She asks questions, I answer, she responds, I respond.
At one point, maybe around 6 months ago, I was slightly concerned about her language development. She began talking and signing single words around 8 months of age. She was doing great then! Lots of single words. She continued to learn individual words slowly for a while...with somewhat poor articulation. But her receptive language grew tremendously. At around 18 months, she heard me talking to her dad about not being able to locate a specific bathing suit. I saw her go in her bedroom, open a drawer, pull it out, and bring it to me. I thought that was pretty amazing! I wasn't even certain she knew the word bathing suit, much less which one I wanted and where to find it.
Lately, her expressive language has really grown. Today she wanted something out of the fridge, which I was holding open and started to close. She goes "No no no! That door!" so that I would keep it open. She went in, pulled out what she wanted and said "Cheese!" It's usually very clear what she wants and when. That makes for a happy child and happy parents.
I think with infants and toddlers, people often judge intelligence by a child's language and motor skills. It's what is most obvious. My daughter is quite shy around less familiar adults. In fact, her uncle on my husband's side (who sees her maybe 5 times a year even though he lives nearby...and really has no idea of how to interact with her) said she was "weird" the other day and voiced concerns about her language development. It's that "stranger danger" thing that he knows little to nothing about. Get her around her "Mamaw" and "Pawpaw" (my parents) and she's plenty talkative. But beyond just the obvious walking/talking, there are so many other hidden skills.
I sat down today with some brand-new Guidecraft toysthat I will be reviewing next month. I wanted to see what Lydia thought of them. The toys are ages 2+ and require a lot of manipulating (puzzles, sorting by shape, size, color, etc.). Lydia picked up how to complete these manipulative toy/puzzles almost instantly. Not only that, she wanted to do them several times over with minimal assistance. Amazing how she was able to logically reason through manipulating these pieces and figure out how to arrange in size order and by shape. Even though I am pretty aware of developmental stages, I have a feeling she was able to do things beyond her age. I would have to check a developmental profile, though, to be certain.
Sometimes, it's hard to separate what I know educationally and what my mother instincts tell me. This is true with both my child and other people's children. It's hard not to say "Wow, that child may need some assistance in (this) area" when I see a friend's child months behind developmentally. But then I guess I think about Richard's brother thinking Lydia is behind in her language... and realize that when I am around others, I am only able to get a snapshot into that child's life. And beyond that, with others knowing my area of expertise and what I do professionally, if they don't ask me questions, clearly they are just not concerned.
At the end of the day, I am exceptionally proud of the girl my daughter is already growing into. I am amazed each day at all that she is able to do and all that I know she will do one day!