Tell me again how smart your child is…

About a week ago, all of us proud parents were exposed to the story about the 17-month old girl who can talk and read. The talking thing is no big deal I don’t believe, but the reading thing is and the coverage she garnered was just a hair shy of annoyingly show-offish to be honest with you (jealous much?). Her parents are both some kind of language experts, so it’s no surprise the kid shows talent in that area. Hmm, since CareerMom and I are both in marketing, does that mean our boys will be great shoppers? Points to ponder.

But this got me to wondering what they do differently at home and what kinds of things are we, and our daycare teaching our own kids. I know that in MLE’s class, they are teaching the toddlers some sign language. The only sign that I see MLE really going to town on, is the sign for “more” and it’s usually in relation to food, “Give me MORE!”

Yesterday, when the kids got home, I checked out their daily activity sheet and MLE’s sheet said, “Today we learned the sign for ‘shoes’.”


Really? How does knowing the sign for shoes help my child? I’d rather he learn how to tell me when he’s about to puke all over my clean work shirt, or when he needs to go poopy rather than filling up his diaper and having it leak out and onto whatever surface he happens to be scooching across at the moment. THOSE are useful signing words to me. Not shoes!

But maybe this is the norm. I pulled the image at the top of my blog off the Internet and as you can see, they teach youngsters all kinds of seemingly useless signs, like “cookie” and “telephone” and “frog.” What can a toddler do with that?

Using this list of signs, I suppose a toddler could sign to someone:

“Mommy, the milk you gave me was too hot, so I want to eat a frog instead.”


“I asked for a cookie and you brought me the telephone, and I said no touch, no touch.”

(you have to be an “Office Space” fan to even remotely get that one).

I don’t know, maybe my expectations for my kids are just really low, but I don’t expect them to be able to wax poetic before the age of two. And quite frankly, I’d rather they fit in with their friends rather than being “that freaky kid” who understands quantum theory at the age of five.

Call me crazy…

4 thoughts on “Tell me again how smart your child is…

  1. Thats too bad. I thought all parents wanted freaky kids. I teach quantum physics at the same time at potty training. They go hand in hand dontcha know!!!

    I laugh at teaching sign prior to language. It seems like it will stall language development a little. Why talk when they can more quickly get what they need by signing “more juice”. I begin teaching basic ASL (not baby signs) at about 2-21/2 when fine motor skills are a bit more eeveloped and the sign is not botched too much. I teach basics like labeling.

    I agree though I would rather teach my children to be compasionate and well behaved children who learn to read at a more normal age and are not precosious by the time they are in kindergarten.
    I did not read any of the story but I can not imagine that 17month old can read for content. I would fear that she may have Aspergers. A sign of Aspergers is being able to sight read any word put infront of you. I worked iwth a 3 year old who would beable ot do that witha phone book. Ask him to please pass the salt though and he would throw a tantrum for hours. Which is more productive as a child or adult for that matter???

    Re: Yep, that’s all the girl does. Her parents can hold up a queue card with a word on it and she reads it off. I haven’t seen whether or not she is otherwise normal. MLE thinks the whole sign language is just too funny and most times he’d rather point and grunt, and only signs if we do it first and then he copies us while laughing his fool head off.

  2. trishatruly

    So what? Are all daycares across the country teaching toddlers the sign for “more”? This is the first one Cole learned too and I didn’t understand what he was doing till I asked his mother and she explained.
    It kinda pissed me off since I think the word “more” is simple enough for a toddler to learn but I suppose “Early Childhood Educational Experts” know more than Nana, doncha know.
    YLE is plenty smart. He’ll outsmart you AND Careermom more times than you’ll want to admit before he’s five-years-old!

  3. I have to agree with Rose on being more concerned about my daugther’s social development than reaching educational milestones well before her peers. [And yes, the parents were totally showing off.]

    Wow, kids really get that “more” sign…like any time she got anything remotely sweet to eat….her little fingertips would start tapping together madly.

  4. romi41

    Hahaha, I am totally the kid who would throw sand in “freaky-kid’s” face on the playground, LOL…it’s true though, that was a giant show-off-fest, but just because that baby can read at 17 monhts, it doesn’t mean the growth-rate of intelligence will remain consistent….like I bet you that smart-curve peaks and the friggin’ kid ends up dropping out of high school and becoming a street performer…. 🙂

    Re: You have such a way with words Romi! When I read that story, I just kept thinkin’ to myself, “Yeah, but can she dance?”

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