Noah is 2 years old.
He is smart. I mean really smart. All parents say that, I know, but I will also list his shortcomings as to not seem unrealistic. Noah is cleaver and curious and does not do anything until he is certain he can do it by himself. Independent. Strong. Stubborn. This is why he is so smart. I can see his wheels turning; constantly thinking (plotting).
He has had one particular puzzle for months. He will not sit still to do something like a puzzle with me because he likes doing things on his own. He enjoys dumping the pieces out, maybe he will sort them into a different container, but then walks away and finds something else to do. This drives me nuts. All I want is to sit down and do a puzzle with my kid. I want him to exercise patience and control so he can LEARN. After a particularly long weekend I was almost to my wits end when he stubbornly walked away from the puzzle, whining and crying. I said 'I know you can do it, just show mom how you can put this fire truck back where it belongs.' He takes it from me, walks over to his turtle desk, places it down and then comes to me, smiling, tugging on my shirt to move away from the puzzle. I say (did I mention I was at my wits end?) 'You know what I mean, Noah, so I am going to sit here until you put these pieces back where they belong.'
He starts whining and crying.
I tell him (and not in a sweet mom voice, but in a I'm-fighting-with-my-toddler voice) 'I know you know how to do it, I am not moving until you do.' He stops whining and crying as quickly as he started and proceeds to put every piece back where they belong. Without a word. For the first time ever.
Of course I am praising him, hooting and hollering like a crazy person. Mean while my stoic face son (hello, Jeff's genes) just tugs on my shirt one last time, insisting that I move away from that damn puzzle.
The kid has been playing me!
And that is why he is so smart.
So when people ask me how much he is talking, what new words has he said, and things about his verbal development... I don't worry. Because Noah does not speak as much as some 2 year olds.... but I am not worried.
I was really struggling with this over the past couple weeks. Reading things online about developmental milestones and just nit picking my kid to death about how many words leave his mouth on a daily basis. I started to question my parenting. Am I not teaching him in the way he needs? Am I not meeting his needs? I got so wound up with the fine print I forgot the big picture. And that is this...
Ya'll, Noah is brilliant.
And I am a great mother.
And one day Noah will very eloquently speak to both those facts, but for now my stubborn child will just hose us all into thinking one thing, just to bamboozle us with a puzzle in the blink of an eye.