I'm not really sure what to title this post but I'll try to think of something by the time I finish writing. In fact, I've been putting off writing this post for almost a month because talking about this subject makes me feel oogy. I'll just dive right in. Asher is starting to learn to read and write.
He is, in typical Asher fashion, doing it backwards, by actually learning to write, and in the process he's accidentally learning to sight-read the words he can write. Of course he doesn't have the manual dexterity to actually form letters with a pen or crayon yet, but he types. He loves to type. It's just because kids want to do what they see their parents doing, which makes me look like I use the computer as much as I wish I did. Anyhow, one way or another, he's obsessed with letters and words. We use typing as a bribe ("when you've finished your breakfast you can do some typing"). At playgroup he does painting but mostly so I'll help him paint his name (sometimes over and over again, when I'm feeling weak). Whenever we have some waiting to do I get him to point out letters and sometimes words - there are plenty of signs about, there are menus to read, even number plates when we get desperate. When someone asks him his name he tells them A-S-H-E-R. There are a few books that people have given him with his name in them which he will point out every time we read them. In short it's pretty full on, and it makes me feel strangely uncomfortable and even a bit guilty.
I know it's meant to be a good thing to have your kid reading early, right? Right? But because he's only two-and-eight-months I feel he shouldn't be learning reading and writing because he's just too young. I'm strangely terrified of being judged as a pushy mum - one of 'those' mothers who who do flashcards with their babies, lots of classes and structured learning and, in my mind at least, compulsively check 'milestones' and obsess about their kids 'keeping up' with the little kids around them. As far as I'm concerned, this couldn't be further from the truth - I reckon that kids develop at their own pace and different kids have different skills that come easily. I don't think little kids need much extra stimulation, I think they just need to see the adults around them doing normal stuff, and ideally spend a bit of time involved in that normal stuff - cooking, cleaning, shopping and interacting nicely with other people, that kind of normal stuff. It just happens that for me 'normal' also includes spending time on the computer, little kids are amazing learning sponges and perhaps my kid is wired to be able to pick some of the basic reading-writing stuff up pretty early. I actually don't think that this interest in letters, spelling and words marks him as being particularly intelligent (I do think he's really smart! I just don't think that this proves it).
I am proud of my boy, but even more there is a strong feeling of relief that it's unlikely we're going to have to really battle to help him to learn to read and write. I'm also really defensive, but I haven't examined why. I don't know why I'm so concerned about being put in the pushy mum box that I have been unwilling to talk to my friends about this, have been putting off posting here about it and instead just telling his grandparents, who already thinks the sun shines out of his footsteps.
So, as to the post title, I think I should swallow my discomfort and go with the obvious...