Saturday, April 10, 2010

Sign of Intelligence

The other day I took Sam to the doctor because he had a fever and green goo coming out of his eye. We actually got an appointment with our primary, which almost never happens when we call for a sick visit.

We love our pediatrician. He's very knowledgeable, calming, and engages the children so they don't even know they're being evaluated half the time. He tells me how smart and good-looking my kids are. He's always done this; once when I was rambling on about something little Sam had done I laughed at myself and said, "you probably see geniuses all day," and he shook his head and said "no, I don't." Which made me really happy that he thought my child was so smart that he needed to mention it at every visit.

When Sam began talking I kept at list of his words, approximations, and signs (we did this when I worked with autistic toddlers so I figured everyone did it). I told Dr. Pumpkin (not his real name but it rhymes) that Sam had 103 words and he said, "You can stop counting now."

The other day when we had to go, I took both children with me. Dr. P checked out Sam and diagnosed his ear infections and said he'd fax over our prescription, and then, with his hand on the doorknob, said, "She talks a lot, doesn't she?"

This about Kate, who had not stopped talking the entire time, only paused some when I shushed her.

"Yes, she does." I laughed.

"I bet you don't have many quiet moments at home," he said.

No, I don't. I just thought all houses with little kids was like mine.

"It's a sign of intelligence, they say," he added.

Oooh, he said she was smart again! But just being kind.

But over the next few days, I started listening to her more. Looking at her when she talked, looking at her face and eyes and responding to what she said. And I began to think, She could be intelligent. She's thinking and processing and explaining.

And then I felt a little sad: when did I stop listening? When did I decide she was annoying and dismiss what she was saying as chatter? Why don't I think of her as intelligent and engage her in conversation?

I desperately love and appreciate my children. I look at them and want to hold them here so I don't forget. And it's been that way since they were born; I know this time flies. It wasn't that long ago I was holding my first baby and wondering how I was going to make it through the night let alone 6 years and another one. They are amazing blessings from God.

But I also know that I can get very caught up in cleaning and folding and putting away and cooking and shopping and organizing and all the mundanities of life. It's a struggle for me to let go of things and just be with them. And somewhere in there Kate's chatter became background noise that I wanted to tune out so I could "focus" on something other than her.

Dr. P's offhand comment that I thought was an old wives' tale has helped me find a better focus with my sweet motormouth Kate (even if it is an old wives' tale). To enjoy her and her crazy song about Loopy (her tiny stuffed dog) or stop what I'm doing to actually spend time with her and not just be in the same room with her.

Stay tuned. I'm sure I'll have some good stories to (re)tell.


  1. Thanks so much for this. [I am sister-in-law of your friend, Heather Gregg, and she referred me to read your blog on one occasion when I was particularly discouraged after a rough meal time with our soon-to-be-three-year-old.] This post especially resonates with me as I struggle with finding balance between drinking in all of his [NON-STOP] chatter and keeping my house clean and clutter-free.

  2. So TRUE! When Katelyn was younger a lot of the stuff she chatted about didn't have a response to it or I could just absently say " Ohh. Uhuh. Wow!" Now she's actually looking for me to respond intelligently. Imagine that, huh? ;o) I also find her chatter annoying especially when I'm trying to FOCUS on something and she's interrupting me. But over the past several months I thought to myself- she's going to start noticing that I"m not paying attention to what she's saying and that I'm always telling her to be quiet. How sad! I don't want her to feel like I'm going to just dismiss her every time she wants to chat no matter how long and repetitive her story is. Because one day she'll be a teen and won't want to talk to me and I"ll long for these days when she did want to talk to me. She's be the one dismissing me. I want to start a good relationship now.
    Thanks for the reminder!
    Oh, and now Madelyn is becoming a chatterer!!