Like adults, each child has their own unique individual set of skills. My 2 ½ year old daughter N can’t jump very well and she is not a mechanical genius as far as we can tell, but she has a very vivid and active imagination (e.g., “I’m the mama and you’re the baby,” “I’m Woody and you’re Ariel,” “I’m Maid Marian and you’re Robin Hood,” etc., etc., ad infinitum).
And she is turning out to be a terrific communicator.
Cases in point:
Today was hot and I was cranky. N had just used the potty, about which I was very enthusiastic and encouraging—but then she refused to wash her hands, which is a big “must” in our house. I used my stern voice and sharply told her that she MUST wash her hands RIGHT NOW.
“Mama!” reproached N, looking at me with furrowed eyebrows, “don’t get mad at me!” That was all it took to make me laugh and calm down.
After morning playtime, I told N we needed to clean up downstairs. “No!” she said, “I need to find my bobu!” (“Bobu” means pacifier, which she’s only allowed to use in her bedroom upstairs.) She clambered upstairs and I followed.
“Okay,” I said, “let’s find your bobu, then leave it on your bed and come back down to clean up.” We located the bobu quickly but instead of following the plan, N jumped into her bed with the bobu and refused to come downstairs and help.
“N, you come downstairs right now, or I’m going to carry you down,” I warned.
“Mama, wait!” she said, hand raised in a “stop” motion. “Let’s talk about this.”
(N definitely gets points for diplomacy and trying to negotiate a new agreement, but this isn’t the U.N. I picked her up and carried her downstairs to clean up.)
As I was changing her before bed, N began to say something but I interrupted. “Mama!” she said, “stop! I’m trying to concentrate!” Then she proceeded to name each of the items she needed for bed, counting them very seriously on her fingers: “bobu, blankie, Woofie.”
I’m very impressed, as I’m not sure I had the confidence to communicate like that until much later. I’m also a little apprehensive—if this is her at 2 ½, what are we in for in 10 years???