Friday, April 23, 2010

Advanced. Cognitive. Thinking. Skills.

Dealing with Phoebe's developmental issues can take a toll on me.  Geoff isn't as bothered by it as I am I don't think, but for me I feel like it makes me vulnerable and, maybe, not as good of a parent as I'd like to be.

I let her climb onto the coffee table ("DID YOU SEE THAT!? SHE'S CLIMBING ONTO THE COFFEE TABLE WITHOUT HELP! THAT'S AN AWESOME GROSS MOTOR SKILL!") and we let her walk across the sofa ("SO GOOD FOR HER BALANCE, GEOFF!") and we try not to limit her access to things in the house because, well, we want to HELP her and anything we can find or figure out to do that we're going to encourage her to do.

I know it makes my mom cringe that we let her get away with stuff (letting her stand on the sofa and turn on and off the light switch), but she's not like other kids.  She doesn't get "time outs" or spanked (well, sometimes we have to slap her hand but she likes throwing her food on the floor) because she doesn't act bratty or misbehave.  She just wants to explore her surroundings and in the process it's usually something that's just fantastic therapy for helping her catch up to her peers. 

As an example, we had a play date on Monday at a local gymnastics place and instead of wanting to be in the ball pit or play with the ribbons or -- God forbid -- hold my hand while she walked in a circle with the other kids and moms, she wanted to crawl and walk around and just see where she was and explore her environment.  I just let her, figuring that I didn't *have* to participate in all the games the instructor was having us do.

That said, there are limits to our patience and tolerance.

Yesterday morning I forgot to latch closed the cabinet in the kitchen that houses all our tupperware.

Phoebe discovered my error and promptly started throwing all the containers all over the kitchen floor (where most of them are still because bending over is difficult when a person is 33 weeks pregnant).

Anyway, I wasn't paying much mind to what Phoebe was doing because I hadn't yet had my coffee or my breakfast, but when I took both into the living room to eat, I noticed Phoebe was carrying a matching cottage cheese container and lid and trying like mad to get that lid to stick on the container.

I thought it was noteworthy only because our cabinet is absolutely not organized with all the lids on top of their matching containers.  I throw things in separately because usually I have only a few seconds to put away dishes before Phoebe wants to get in and "reorganize" stuff for me. 

Unloading the dishwasher is something I can now do so fast, my 16 year old self would be highly disappointed in my lack of ennui with a chore I used to loathe.

Anyway, Phoebe grabbed another "set" of containers and started matching up the lid with the container and I thought "Huh, this is pretty cool -- I bet this is really good for her fine motor skills or something."

And when her therapist came over at 9:30, I told her about it, saying "I couldn't believe she was doing that -- I mean, we have different varieties of cottage cheese container in the cupboard but she was actually putting the right lid on the right container!"

Emily then told me that she's noticed Phoebe is actually right on schedule or maybe even advanced for her cognitive thinking skills.

I am sorry.  What?



Excuse me while I brag a little bit because a few months ago we were told some of her motor skills were on the same level as those of a 3 month old so allow me this, okay?

Emily said Phoebe demonstrates an advanced ability to sort things by size (her stacking blocks, which she is OBSESSED with), putting the clothes on "correctly" on her dolls (she throws a FIT if we don't velcro the backs of the doll's outfits and forget about putting them on backwards -- she whines and hands it back to us to "fix"), and stacking the rings on her ring toy (which she's been doing now for quite some time -- taking the time to figure out what order is "correct" and then applauding for herself when she gets it right).  She's also been engaging in a lot of "pretend play" -- feeding her Cabbage Patch kids, bathing the doll that goes into the bath with her, helping to wash herself and her hair in the bath, etc etc etc.

I have no idea what's "normal" and far be it for me to try to put kids into categories, but in a week when we had a playdate with a bunch of kids several months younger than Phoebe (who were saying words, and walking much better than she does), to get the news that she is advanced in her thinking ability is, well, fucking awesome.

We have always said she seems smart and observant.  But we're parents so we're, you know, gonna think she's amazing no matter what she does.

To hear such fantastic news from an impartial observer though is just ... really really cool.

... and it makes me want to leave that cabinet unlocked just to encourage her a little more.


robyn :) said...

Yay for Phoebe!!! And, yay, for you guys! Heck, there are times I can't even match up the correct lid to the container ;)

Stephanie Precourt said...

This is awesome. I love hearing this. And I have to laugh a little because while I was reading it, Ivy walked on the coffee table onto the sofa. LOL. Our tupperware cabinet is SCARY, too. But I really get this and know how thrilled you must feel!


Mama Parker said...

This made me smile. Go Phoebe!!

Annie said...

*LIKE* no *LOVE!*

Nancy said...

I was reading your post thinking, "Wow! She's LIGHT YEARS ahead of where Erik was at that age!" Color me impressed! Don't worry about thinking about every little thing she is doing in scientific/medical/therapeutic terms. That will fade with time. P.S. Erik threw our Tupperware all over the floor for a year or two (I put the lids out of reach). One day he stopped doing it, and I actually kind of miss that. :)

Laura@OutnumberedMom said...

Wow -- that is great news!

Come on over for some mom inspiration and encouragement.

*amanda.grace said...

This is a beautiful and honest post. I have had similar thoughts as you in regards to allowing room for development and exploration. There will be a time for discipline and teaching boundaries. It just seems like they can only handle so many rules at the Toddler stage. Right now standing up in the bath tub is a big simply because it is dangerous. But Kyla has free range of the couch and tupperware drawer. =0) What a lovely compliment Phoebe received. I pray you continue to be encouraged. Love.