She loves Elmo and Barney. She will waddle-run into the t.v. room if she hears them.
She bounces on her tippy toes, dancing to the theme song, and smiling at whoever is there with her.
She plays peek-a-boo, knows what her tongue and nose are, and loves to show you, whether you ask in English or Spanish.
She claps her hands, and if you try to take her from my arms after I get home from work, –watch out!– she will slap you.
My daughter is nearly 11 months old and already brimming with so much more personality than I had previously thought possible. I don’t have younger siblings and didn’t grow up around babies, so this is all really knew for me.
I had read all kinds of books while I was pregnant, learning about brain development, language learning, milestones and stages—not because I planned on pushing her to achieve any of those things, but simply out of curiosity and a love of non-fiction books I can read with a purpose.
But none of those books taught me about how silly a 10-month-old could be. They didn’t tell me I’d get glimpses of her personality and what it would be like even at 4 months. It didn’t tell me how eager she’d be to do tummy time or practice walking by cruising, even before she had mastered crawling!
These books and research couldn’t even attempt to predict who my daughter is or, now, who she will be. They can’t tell me her strengths and weaknesses. Her loves. That she would hate the consistency of puréed string beans, love sweet potatoes, or insist always on cuddling as soon as I get home.
So when an “expert” thinks they can prescribe the singular method for teaching her, or try to persuade me to believe that one test will determine her intelligence or predict her potential, you will have to excuse me as I roll my eyes. I think they’ve read too many books and don’t know enough children.
I will feel the same way if she chooses to become a teacher and someone tries to assess her in the same paltry manner.