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My 15-month-old daughter is pretty precocious, compared to the other kids in her playgroup. I used to be able to pass it off as "well, she's a few weeks older than little Johnny," but now it's transparently clear that it's not just the age difference.

She says more than 150 words, including the names of all the body parts (not just things like "nose," but also "chin," "cheek," "back," etc.). She asks for specific books by saying part of the title, and in her favorite books she's memorized what comes next. (For example, in Fox in Socks she'll announce "Bim Ben!" just before we get to the page about "Bim comes, Ben comes. Bim brings Ben broom.") She can identify most basic colors - red, green, blue, black, yellow, purple, brown - and it's not just that she has the colors of specific things memorized, because she'll do it for crayons and poker chips and other things that are uniform except for color.

She's so excited by her skills that she wants to exercise them constantly. It's no different from a baby who just learned how to pull up on the furniture, and then wants to do it all day long - but with intellectual skills, I know that it looks more like showing off. So all the playgroup kids will be hanging out playing, and Alex is pointing to everything in the room saying (correctly) "Blue! Green! Yellow!" Sometimes she'll hug a baby doll and pretend to feed it Cheerios, but more often she takes the doll and labels all of its body parts.

Some of the other moms love and appreciate her for who she is, but a couple of them have said things that make me uncomfortable, including the thing I used as the title: "Do you just *work* with her all the time?" Man, did that make me cringe! I had no idea how to respond, other than to sort of incoherently deny that I "work" with her, whatever that's supposed to mean. Of course I talk with her about colors, body parts, animals, etc., but doesn't everyone?

How do you handle comparisons? My instinct is to apologize for her skills or minimize them, and I hate that that's my instinct. As a child, I always felt like I was a freak for being so smart. I don't want people to think that Alex is a freak, or that I'm a horrible pushy mother, but at the same time, I'm proud of her gifts and I want her to be, too.
 

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When ds was about 19 months old we were at a car place getting a replacement key made. He looked at the big old fashioned clock on the wall and said "The red clock on the wall says 2." It just so happened that it was, in fact, 2:00 and I think he noticed that the hand was pointing to the 2. He was in a phase where he was learning and recognizing letters and numbers like mad. He had already figured out colors. The receptionist looked at me, at him and at the clock and made some snarky comment like "Wow, you must work with him constatnly to teach him stuff like that." I replied that while I don't sit down to teach him these things, I do answer his questions and allow him to explore.

Another time a friend I hadn't seen in years came by with her two children. One older than ds (then late 2) and one younger. I don't remember what he said or did, but she said basically the same thing as the receptionist and I responded basically the same way.

Tell your friends that you don't "WORK" with dd all day, but that you do encourage her to explore and ask questions, just like any other mother.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Rivka5
My instinct is to apologize for her skills or minimize them, and I hate that that's my instinct. As a child, I always felt like I was a freak for being so smart.
This really rings true for me too. My dd is 3 yrs old, and while I hesitate to say she's "gifted" she's always been very advanced, esp. with language and memorization.

We don't "work" with her either, and I have a hard time responding to any suggestions that we do. Sometimes I come up with a good response to that question long after I've been asked, but the questions always irks me a little, and I never have a good response in the moment.

I'm interested to hear what other people have to say.
 

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Unfortunately, no, many parents do not take everyday opportunities to teach their children things. Just because you communicate with your child and have 'teaching' conversations doesn't mean you are 'working' her. Lol

I've had similar things said to me when it comes to my sister's kids. I always count stairs when we walk up them, point out 'look at that YELLOW flower', or 'how many plates do we need?' just really simple things..and they hassle me about how i'm not their teacher and they don't have to be as smart as I was. Um, aren't we all their teachers? And it's not like I ever (and I'm sure you don't do this) sit them down with workbooks and say 'today we're learning our colors, numbers, letters, etc.)...

I think growing and life and experience are the best teachers and it sounds like you're doing an excellent job! AND you're encouraging your baby! That's awesome! Thank you for making an intelligent contribution to society
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by fearlessbirth
I always count stairs when we walk up them, point out 'look at that YELLOW flower', or 'how many plates do we need?' just really simple things..and they hassle me about how i'm not their teacher and they don't have to be as smart as I was. Um, aren't we all their teachers? And it's not like I ever (and I'm sure you don't do this) sit them down with workbooks and say 'today we're learning our colors, numbers, letters, etc.)...

I think growing and life and experience are the best teachers and it sounds like you're doing an excellent job! AND you're encouraging your baby! That's awesome! Thank you for making an intelligent contribution to society

Yes! This is how I approach each and every day with ds. It's a little more challenging now that he's 4, but basically that's what we do. "So, we have one plate on the table, how many more do we need?" Or "We added 1 scoop of flour, how many more do we need to make 3 scoops?" I'm encouraging him to think and ask, but that doesn't mean I'm a drill seargent! But, in my case, since I'm homeschooling, I AM his teacher. Even if I sent him to school every day, though, I'd do stuff like this.
 

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Man oh man, my 15 month old sounds just like yours! It's starting to be disturbing, really. We have been part of a Bible study group at church with other couples with young children, and there are three other babies within a month of Catherine's age. And she is heads and tails above the other babies in what she's doing. I feel kinda apologetic a lot of times and keep saying, "Well, they all develop at their own rates," and, "Yeah, I think she's just trying to keep up with big sister," etc. But they've stopped buying it. I mean, I read to her and play with her and talk to her, but mostly she just picks up on stuff quickly, like when I pointed out cheek once, she went around and pointed out everyone's cheeks. She doesn't know all her colors yet, I don't think, but they sound very similar. (And she just hit 15 months yesterday.) The dr was really disturbed, kept saying he'd never seen a baby her age act like she was acting. (She was hiding blocks and saying, "Where block? It's hiding!" and then pulling it out and saying, "Boo!") She's pretty coordinated too, physically, running, jumping, climbing, stringing beads, etc. I hesitate to think of the term gifted with a toddler, but it does come to mind on occassion. My older daughter was not at all like this, although she is plenty bright. She certainly wasn't speaking in sentences at 11 months or crawling over to the shelf and trying to put puzzles together at 4 months. (not succeeding coordination wise, but definitely had the right idea) It is kinda awkward around other babies and parents. I don't want to make them feel bad. It's weird how the baby books don't ever seem to apply at all. I look at the "what your baby should be doing" and just laugh. I'm glad she seems to be bright and all, but I don't want her to feel like a freak. I always felt like a freak growing up (heck I still do but I don't care as much anymore and it's not the age locked achievement oriented world of school) and I don't want her to have to go through that. My current worry is how things will play out with her relationship with older sister 17 months older. I don't want big sis to feel badly if little sis outpaces her. Right now they adore one another. It's so sweet. I just don't want a competition thing to arise or anyone's self esteem to suffer, kwim?
 

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It is nice when the age difference can be used as an "excuse" isn't it!?!?


With my kids I usually just say, "We all have our strengths" or just a simple, "Thanks, we think it's pretty cool too!" I've learned that it's ok to accept a compliment. "Yes, she can walk at 7 months. It's cool and a little scary, too. Thanks for noticing." Did I "work" my daughters to walk at 7 months? Not unless I should have only crawled around the house+!
 

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I remember when dd was younger having felt compelled to apologize with other moms or figure out what it was that their kid did well and point that out. Now I often feel compelled to give the downside to whatever area of exceptionality she has, which I wish I didn't, but I don't want people to think I'm one of 'those' parents who acts as though they are to credit for their kids gifts.
:
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by sophmama
I remember when dd was younger having felt compelled to apologize with other moms or figure out what it was that their kid did well and point that out. Now I often feel compelled to give the downside to whatever area of exceptionality she has, which I wish I didn't, but I don't want people to think I'm one of 'those' parents who acts as though they are to credit for their kids gifts.
:
Just remember...kids hear and observe so much. They are learning from you and what you say and if they hear you put them down or minimize their abilities that isn't really providing a healthy model of acceptance of difference.
 

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Originally Posted by Roar
Just remember...kids hear and observe so much. They are learning from you and what you say and if they hear you put them down or minimize their abilities that isn't really providing a healthy model of acceptance of difference.
I know - she brings stuff up later that I say so many times when I think she isn't listening (thankfully not that yet - I haven't said it in her hearing range so far).

So, what are some nice healthy responses we could use when other moms especially make comparative statements about our kids with that wistful tone of voice implying they wish their kid was doing the same thing as yours?
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by sophmama

So, what are some nice healthy responses we could use when other moms especially make comparative statements about our kids with that wistful tone of voice implying they wish their kid was doing the same thing as yours?
I think you just have to get past trying to make people feel better especially not at the expense of saying something negative about your kid. Some things I've said "yes, he loves to read" "he's always enjoyed music - is your son playing soccer this year?" (in other words moving on to a new topic", "thank you","child development is pretty complicated, I don't claim to get it" "yup, math is his thing", etc.
 

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We used to get the "You must work with him" comment all the time. The nice approach is to say, "No, he just loves letters and numbers" with a big old smile on your face.
 

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I wouldn't put my child down, but I when people mention how precocious my dd is, I always say it's amazing how each child is different and has their own strengths. My children also walked really early, and again I was amazed at them. I am constantly amazed and humbled by my children and I reflect that in how I respond to such compliments/comments. We are just lucky to have them, yknow?
 

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My dd was also very precocious verbally and loved books (still does at age 11). When she was around 18 mos, I can remember wheeling her around Target with a Dr. Seuss book, and she was reciting the whole book!! All the old ladies just stared because she knew every word and which words went with which pages. We got a lot of comments about "working with" her, which we never did at all. Just let them go. Enjoy this time of immense growth and development. From ages 1-4 is just such a huge explosion of knowledge and learning for these kids, it's incredible to watch!!!!

It's tough when our kids outshine their peers because they do stand out, and that is good. Just try to ignore the negative comments.
 

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I used to get those comments about ds1, especially when he was trying to do things at 3 and 4 like learn Spanish. People used to say, oh you must work with him all the time, or oh, he must watch Dora all the time. No, neither. I have no idea how he learned the Spanish he did but that answer never seemed to satisfy people...
 

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We stick to the short and simple "No we don't 'work' with her, she learns through experience". The problems we've had had come from the responses to that; "well, could you imagine how much she would know if you actually DID work with her". I've then felt the need to explain how we do actually work with her, just like the other mom's here do. We explain, we probe, we give detailed reasons etc.; "Which shoe do you want to put on first, your left or your right.", "Would you like the red shirt or the green shirt etc.".

I am not a fan of flashcarding or similiar teaching methodologies (they don't work for me but do work wonders for others). But DH always made so much fun or me for saying to our toddler "You have the red block. Oh! You put the green block ontop of the red one" etc. He'd always cough under his breath and we'd laugh. There's not really much difference is there? But having to explain that to friends, family and strangers seems like a waste of time.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Rivka5
....
How do you handle comparisons? My instinct is to apologize for her skills or minimize them, and I hate that that's my instinct. As a child, I always felt like I was a freak for being so smart. I don't want people to think that Alex is a freak, or that I'm a horrible pushy mother, but at the same time, I'm proud of her gifts and I want her to be, too.
Yeah, I'm in the same position. And sorry to say, I haven't found a good solution for it either-- other than to just deal with the negative attitudes I sometimes get and suck it up. Hey, I can't help it if my DD wants to read, do puzzles, imitate kids going potty, and the next kid doesn't. It's nice when people are appreciative. But it hurts when people think you've pushed your kid, rather than followed your kid's lead. Still, I wouldn't trade my daughter's behavior for what's more typical... watching her grow makes life fun, exciting and interesting.

Faith
 

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Originally Posted by Charles Baudelaire
I just told people we duct-taped her to a chair and shoved workbooks under the closet we kept her in until she learned things. :LOL
Ha! I said that to a couple people who were being really obnoxious.
: "Well, we lock him in the closet and feed him workbooks through a hole in the door."
 

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Originally Posted by lckrause
Ha! I said that to a couple people who were being really obnoxious.
: "Well, we lock him in the closet and feed him workbooks through a hole in the door."
Sometimes, saying to people what they really believe anyway is the only defense against their absurdity.
 
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