Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Whattya Mean You Don’t Know Your Age?

My son turned three back in September. Let me just stress right now that he is the apple of my eye and I love him more than words could adequately explain. He has truly changed my life and even though his mom and I are no longer together, I want to continue to be a positive influence in his life as well as a constant…always being around for him.

I say that because I'm about to complain and get some frustrations out, and I really don't want anybody believing that I think any less of my son. He is my world.

Okay…the kid can't talk. He says words from time to time, but they're mumbled or muffled or don't make any sense at all. The Ex and I both believe that he needs tubes in his ears (he sees a specialist later this month) and that the talking will develop ten-fold once he can truly hear and understand exactly what he's saying. His hearing is fine, too…he's already passed hearing tests and seems to know what we tell him most of the time.

When sitting with a picture book, asking him to find objects like turtles and oranges and ducks are a joy because the kid seems to be able to pick out just about anything. It's quite impressive, actually.

But over the weekend we were playing Chutes & Ladders. Obviously, it's a bit of a stretch to get him to understand the concept at this point…but I thought it'd be fun to try. So I'm spinning the little dial and asking him to tell me what number it lands on (it was a 3). He doesn't know. No worries, I think. I tell him and get him to repeat it out loud and we continue to play.

He lands on the same number. He has no idea what it is.

Okay…how about if I count out loud? Maybe he just can't recognize the numbers on a page. Surely he can count to five, right?




"No, buddy…there's no eight. How old are you?"


"Well, you knew your age on your birthday. How old are you, buddy?"


"No, buddy. One…two…"


I was a bit stunned. I really thought that between the babysitter he's with every day and his mom (who has custody) that surely NUMBERS would have entered into the equation at some point. I mean, it's awesome to know colors and I don't expect him to know the alphabet yet (especially where he can't even pronounce words correctly), but why can't he even count to three yet?

Am I expecting too much out of him? Am I expecting too much out of him mom? Should I take it upon myself to be his numeric teacher? I know I shouldn't be frustrated, but am I really out of line by feeling this way?


The Pipster said...

Hi CBG, here is a link re: a three year old's development http://www.nncc.org/Child.Dev/ages.stages.3y.html
Every child develops differently. Was the pediatrician concerned at his 3 year old check-up? I don't think you are out of line at all (in feeling frustrated).

T said...

I agree with Pippi about looking at a development chart.

Kids ALL develop differently. I told you about my nephew who only just started speaking this year. He turns 5 next month. He is still difficult to understand too.

Hang in there. And sure, why not try to teach him some things? Don't get frustrated if he's not ready yet. Its much like potty training... if they're not ready, you're in for some difficulty.


Amber said...

I don't think you're out of line at all. We all have different expectations for our children, and sometimes it requires complete communication with all team players involved.
As for speech, it's easy enough to improve with lots of one on one time working on it. Can be as simple as asking him to say a word of what he wants, then pointing to your mouth so he sees how to form the word, then having him try it. Encourage encourage encourage.
Numbers, play lots of number games, get some flash cards, playing card games & board games with numbers, the more your practice, the better he'll get.
If he's not ready for it yet, at least he'll have a good and solid foundation to build from.

Anonymous said...

My take on the speech thing is this and something I saw in real time. Some kids don't have to speak, they point and grunt and such and get what they want. There was a 6 year old kid I coached that could hardly talk. I thought the child was slow or whatever so its all good. Well I soon saw that his parents just damn near wouldn't let him talk, they catered to him he'd point and they'd fetch. You want this? no? this? this one right here? this?

anyway just a thought.
Also on things like letters and numbers, colors etc repetition is the mother of consistency in all things so if you want him to know his numbers then stay on top of it.

He'll get it. Good luck.

Debby said...

Early 3 or late 3? That makes a HUGE difference. And passing a hearing screening at the peds office is much different than a full workup from an audiologist. Kids that are hearing or linguistically challenged often are very good at picking up on nonverbal cues from the person giving the screening. (as long as autism isn't an issue)

As for early game suggestions..I think Candyland is a better choice for his age cohort..pictures not requiring symbol recognition and translation.

TentCamper said...

I don't think you are out of line in being frustrated. It does not mean that you care for him any less. To me it sounds more like you hurt for him and that is healthy.

Get all of the needed checks done and teach him whatever you can.
Good luck!!

Daddy Geek Boy said...

By all means, if there's something you think he should know or that you want to teach him...teach him! There's no downside.

christine said...

i think there is a pretty wide range of normal as far as this stuff goes, especially for a 3 year old. i don't know if this link will work for you as you aren't in the states (and certainly not oregon), but i do an online development screen periodically for my kids. especially when i'm feeling concerned about an area of development. http://asqoregon.com/

i think i'd be more concerned if you spend time going over this stuff with him and he doesn't retain it. it's easy to make counting and letter recognition part of everyday play. if he hasn't been introduced to any sort of counting or number recognition, that's different than if he just doesn't get it at this point.

my thought is rather than asking his mom why he doesn't know this stuff, say something like, "i've started working on counting and letters with AB." and then maybe tell her how he's doing with it, or what you're doing, and ask how he does when he's with her. it seems like she'd be less likely to be defensive.

Momma Sunshine said...

There's definitely a very wide range when it comes to "normal" child development.

Try not to be frustrated with him; just see this as a teaching opportunity. :-)

There are lots of ways to teach a child to count. Every time you're walking up and down stairs - count them. If you're going to pick him up - do it on the count of three. Pushing him on the swings? Count how many times you push him. If you're giving him a snack, count out the number of crackers, or whatever it is you're giving him. Line up toys and count them as you go.

Eventually, with lots of repetition, he will pick up on this.

Ths is also something that you might want to talk about with his mom...just casually. Just say it's something you've noticed that he's not doing yet (counting) and that you've started doing some fun counting games with him. Hopefully that will encourage her to do the same. She's pretty reasonable from what I know of her, and you have a good relationship, I think that this is something that the two of you can tackle together. :-)

Candice said...

I think you are right to have some concerns at this point. You should definitely have a chat with your ex about this. You can also speak with his pediatrician.

When all else fails, sit him in front of Sesame Street. ;)

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LoJo said...

By all means, "take it upon" yourself to teach him anything you think he needs to know. Read, read, read. Read counting books over and over. He'll learn through repetition. Then read some more. And when you're tired of reading, go read to him. Don't be afraid to read the same book eleventy million times. It's important!

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