April 16, 2007

If quizzes are quizzical then what are tests?

Currently, we are in this sweet little epoch of toddlerhood that I refer to as the Age of Ignorance. And it's heavenly bliss. For me. The kid hasn't yet caught on to the fact that waffles are best served smothered in syrup and slathered with butter. He doesn't recognize the guilty crinkle of a Cadbury Fruit n' Nut wrapper as I surreptitiously take bites in the kitchen while he isn't looking. He's not yet aware that yogurt isn't a valid dessert option in most social circles and that creme brulee is far, far superior. And his ears haven't quite fine-tuned the sweet sound of a shameful slurp of Coca-Cola. Folks, I'm going to ride this pony until it dies. Good grief, before you know it, he'll realize that the colorful truck cheerfully ringing the off-key tune "Do Your Ears Hang Low?"while snaking slowly through our 'burb is hawking over-priced muy delicioso treats.

Over the weekend, while doing some chores, I had a song running through my head. I was trying to remember the name of the tune when I realized with a start that it was a diddy from Blue's Clues....sigh..... I suspected Arun has been watching too much TV while I've been sick, but damn....... While the Noggin channel assures me that watching Steve and Crew enhances a preschooler's skillz in "problem solving and meta cognition", I'm still a little leery of their tagline "It's like preschool on TV". So, they're saying that for the price of my cable bill, my kid doesn't even need to leave the house??

Well, we have our 18 month appointment today. At our 15 month appointment, the doctor made a comment about "getting on that" when she found out Arun couldn't use a spoon. I remember thinking "Yeah, right - are you going to come to my house and clean up the mess?". Truthfully, what bothered me about Arun not using a spoon was that it was a stark reminder that we don't eat around the table as a family - something all the Wise Parenting Tomes dictate you must do, lest your child be sentenced to a life of crime and ultimately, homemade hooch processed in a Ziploc bag. And I didn't want my doctor to know that. However, I realized over the weekend, I need to get over myself. We may eat on the floor, but hell's bells, we're doing THAT as a family and that's good enough. Anyway, I did notice over the weekend that the milestone actually is "spoon OR fork". I guess I wasted a lot of time wringing my hands about Utensil Utilization for nothing since Arun has the fork thing down pat. Anyway. Whatever.

Actually, while I'm On Topic, there was some chatter last week about developmental milestones last week in the Blogosphere. Of course, I want to weigh in, but as my tagline suggests, I'm pretty "outdated". A bit. Anyway......I don't get in a tizzy about milestones, but I do pay attention to them. Damn straight, they should NOT be used as a tool for Comparing and Competing while on playdates, but milestones aren't meant to be taken lightly, either. My brother was diagnosed at the age of 4 with a language-based pervasive developmental disorder. He is not autistic, but damn - he tested really fucking close, folks. Take it from me, if your child has a problem - you want to know as soon as possible. No messing around. And those milestones, taken as a whole, go a long, long way in helping you pinpoint problems early on. For example, Arun doesn't say a lot of words right now, but I am not overly worried because he is well on track for the other milestones. Also, there's a reason why there is a wide berth in each section - for example, the Spoon Thing is 13-20 months. In short, I don't think a mother should ever feel inadequate if her kid isn't reaching at the "top" of a milestone. In the end, most kids are going to "even out" by kindergarten, so I don't see what the big deal is in these early years.

The sad, sad thing is that, all too often, milestones are just another weapon mothers use against each other in the Mommy Wars. Life is too short for that shit. I say, let's see milestones for what they are really intended and move onto something more important.

World peace, perhaps?


Diana said...

Well said!

(I'd also like to state for the record that I think Steve has greater nutritional value than Joe on 'Blues Clues', sort of like whole grain graham cracker cookies vs 'Nilla Wafers.)

Cagey said...

I agree with you regarding the raging controversy over Steve vs. Joe. I used to be a Joe Fan, however he was my very first exposure to Blue's Clues. I can see now how I was easily swayed by his swarthy looks (hubba hubba!). However, Steve is much better with his delivery line-wise and music-wise.

Leah said...

I only pay attention to milestones if someone says something, then it starts to freak me out. "Wait, she's supposed to wave? She's not waving! OMG!" Which is why I do'nt let myself know milestones because they get me all paranoid.

Monkey McWearingChaps said...

I know for a fact that I was mislabelled retarded in pre-school school and kindergarten because I remember huge fights between my parents and my teachers about it. It probably didn't help that I went to french school at the time since my parents were in court fighting to send me to english school

Couldn't tie my shoelaces, had trouble with utensils and all the rest of it...I was not what you would call a bright or attractive child, lol.

My sister and brother-in-law were also labelled emotionally immature or something. They passed my sister after my father raised a ruckus but my brother almost flunked first grade twice. They held him back once.

All I'm saying is that the three of us simpletons hit every milestone late and we're doing a'ight considering we have 7 degrees between the three of us :).

Cagey said...

I remember worrying that Arun wasn't waving, but realized quickly I needed to get over it. There's enough to worry about anyway.


Christy said...

I totally agree - people place way too much emphasis on milestones. But honestly, I do worry when Porgie seems to be slow in developing specific skills. Its extremely hard not to worry.