Toddler - typical, gifted, or does it matter? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 08-23-2017, 12:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Toddler - typical, gifted, or does it matter?

Hi, I have an adorable two year old daughter. (She is just shy of 25 months). I'm trying to get a sense of whether her development is normal, a little advanced, or a lot advanced. I know in many ways it doesn't really matter at this age, but I'm a planner and it's helpful for me to think about. I was a gifted kid and started needing special work at school by first grade (I read at a middle school level so the teacher had a separate curriculum for me). My mom doesn't have much memory of what I was like at my daughter's age, and I guess I'm just trying to get some sense of what to expect.

In terms of early milestones, she was pretty much on target. She had very good receptive language at 1 but only a few words (likely due to having only 2 half teeth and a strong pacifier habit). She walked 3 days past her first birthday. Her language picked up between 1 and 2 but around 18-20 months I would say was still on the high side of normal.

In the last couple of months, however, her language has gone crazy. She speaks in complete, grammatically correct sentences with multiple pronouns. Examples: after I told her to give her father some privacy in the restroom ("I will leave daddy alone and let him use the toilet by himself"). After I told her we didn't have oatmeal which she had requested for dinner ("I want to go buy some oatmeal.") Other typical conversations ("I want to go to the grocery store because the cashier gives me stickers"; "mommy, come over to the table and put your purse down right there"; "I want you to sit on the floor next to me and play with my magna-tiles"; "mommy, you are driving your car to work?")

None of these are Einstein-level, but neither do they seem typical of her peers. She has quite a long attention span and can play with her toys (especially the magna-tiles or her dolls) for long periods of time. She loves jigsaw puzzles but can only complete about a six-piece puzzle on her own. She has memorized several short books and "reads" them to us, and knows at least 20-30 songs (in tune with complete lyrics).

In other ways, however, she seems completely typical. Her gross and fine motor skills are largely normal (she was an early block stacker but is only just figuring out how to draw a circle); she can count (to twenty but generally only goes to ten) but is not consistent with counting objects above 2 or 3; she can sing the alphabet but only recognizes the first letter of her own name.

I don't want to ask my local friends if her behavior seems typical or advanced because it seems like I'm comparing kids or bragging, when really I just want to have a sense of what's normal and what's not. Thanks in advance for your thoughts.
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#2 of 6 Old 08-23-2017, 02:01 PM
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everyone's different

My son was super verbal, talking in sentences at 2. He was adding stuff up and trying to create letters of the alphabet, this was maybe approaching 3ish. We were playing board games by 4, and he had a favourite story (one) fully memorized around 3/4. By grade 1 a lot of his peers had evened out in skills, but my son always lagged behind in fine motor stuff and he still shows no inclination in that direction. Same with ball playing, not a ton of interest, hasn't changed much, not a super sporty or risk taking kid. As long as you aren't pushing her you are doing OK.
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#3 of 6 Old 08-28-2017, 08:35 AM
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That's really advanced language development. My [gifted] kids were actually language-delayed (the classic gifted late talkers, children of scientists and musicians) so it sounds even more spectacular to me. As I'm sure you know, kids are all individuals, and as much as development can spurt ahead, it can also seem to stall for a while. However, if you were gifted there's a decent chance, given what you're seeing, that your dd will end up with the same designation. Unfortunately it's tough to plan for this, because gifted kids are at least as different from each other as they are from non-gifted kids, there's no way you can really plan ahead from what you're seeing now. She might end up having a temperament and social style that work beautifully in the school system, she might turn out to have precocity that is impossible to accommodate in the regular classroom, she might turn out to be passionate about something outside the school curriculum that challenges her tons and allows her to coast at school without getting frustrated, she might turn out to have anxieties and sensitivities that cause challenges in all areas of life ... there are so many possible scenarios and there's really no way to predict at this point.

Enjoy where she's at and try to walk the delicate line of noticing all the wonderful exceptional things she is doing while not borrowing trouble. My mantra has always been "a year at a time."


Mountain mama to one great kid and three great grown-ups
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#4 of 6 Old 08-29-2017, 10:45 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks both of you! That's definitely helpful; I was a very easygoing kid at school and fit pretty well in the system. Can't tell yet whether my daughter will be the same. Her preschool teachers love her most of the time but she is pretty strong-willed about what *she* wants to do regardless of what is supposed to be going on at that time (particularly if what she is supposed to be doing is napping).
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#5 of 6 Old 09-08-2017, 03:13 PM
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I wouldn't worry about her being headstrong at 25 months! She's a lot younger than a school age kid. I agree with Miranda - enjoy her, and work with her along the way as she grows. It would be nice if we could plan ahead that far in advance, but kids just make it impossible. My own 2 kiddos are incredibly different, and in retrospect there were lots of things going on during their early development that weren't likely to have impact on their school lives, although we didn't know it at the time. My daughter has poor oral motor strength and coordination - not a big deal now that she is 10, but she struggled to learn to speak, blow out birthday candles, suck from a straw. I wish now I could reassure myself of 10 years ago that her speech problems were nothing to do with her ability to comprehend and produce language. She reads at a level years and years ahead, but her strength is her ability to analyze situations and see meanings. My son was, like your daughter, very verbal very early. We didn't even believe he was saying words at first - we thought it was just coincidence that what was coming out of his mouth sounded relevant - but he was very slow with gross motor development. Now he's an exceptionally quick and nimble 9, and playing on a select soccer team despite not having much past experience compared with the other kiddos. He's still very verbal, but nobody notices it unless he's really settled into a serious conversation (rare!). Even more than his sister, he's not the kid I predicted when he was 2.

So, if you are somewhere where there are lots of options, I don't think it hurts to start looking into what those options are like, but with the attitude that you are just exploring.

Edited to add: Doesn't every kid hate being forced to nap? Uggh, I still remember it, the mats, the boredom.
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#6 of 6 Old 09-14-2017, 06:56 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks! We found a compromise on naps -- basically they will try really hard to get her to sleep if she is punch-drunk and cranky, but wake her up again after 30-45 minutes. That seems to be working pretty well. It is so fun just watching her be herself. Since my original post she has gone crazy with jigsaw puzzles and is up to 16-piece ones. She will take a new one, put it together in about 5 minutes, then happily announce, "I did it by myself!" She's also becoming a little playground daredevil which I am *mostly* happy with, so long as she stays in one piece.
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