The things that will never make it in the baby books and other musings from a stay at home mom

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The real value of old family movies

What I remembered: Sentences more than eight words long. Near-perfect grammar and syntax. A vocabulary that would be astounding for a child double her age.

What I had completely forgotten: Pronunciation that was so difficult to understand that I needed to translate those wonderful, complex sentences for other people more often than not.

When I studiously avoid comparing my children obsess about the differences between my kids' development, verbal ability is always at the top of the list of things that I clearly have no business comparing. Julia was an incredibly verbal 2 year old. Evan? Is a boy. A different child. Has his own set of talents and abilities worth mentioning. Comparing the two does me no good, and it's not fair to them either. But what can I say? I'm human... and it's hard to forget. Or so I thought.

Last weekend, we watched old video of Julia just after she turned 2. Her sentences were every bit as impressive as I had remembered; that part of my memory had served me correctly. And yet, watching and listening two years later, we really had to struggle to understand them. It turns out that her articulation was scarcely better than Evan's at this age. And I had completely forgotten that.

Comparing my kids is never, ever fair to Evan, not when I'm comparing his current reality with a hazy memory of Julia. But comparing them side by side at the same developmental stage? Sometimes a little perspective is a very good thing.


At 4:02 PM, Anonymous chelle said...

That is such a neat perspective on home movies. We have just starting video taping our daughter and we often wonder when we will watch them again! Now I know!

At 4:13 PM, Blogger Steph said...

Speaking of comparisons, poor J has been videotaped so little in her life compared to M. We had a whole library of M by this age, and J? Maybe 30 minutes of tape, if that. As for old fashioned comparing one child to the other? I'm guilty of that too.

At 11:20 AM, Blogger Jennifer said...

Isn't it interesting! With the second child, there is that older sibling there, always doing more. My husband and I kept saying to each other that Tess was not as good at listening as Aidan had been - and then we realized that when Aidan was 2 1/2, we hadn't been telling him to "go get dressed" - we'd still been dressing him! Selective memory! Maybe we should have done some home video of that?? Hee.

By the way, my first was a much earlier and "better" talker than my second - and the first is a boy and second is a girl. So it might be a birth order thing rather than a gender thing?


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