I Don't Care That Your Toddler Can Read


toddler readingMany years ago, I had a roommate who would get very upset when she received her friend’s annual newsletter. Yes, newsletter.

For whatever reason, the woman got it into her head that the best way to say happy holidays was to mail out a professionally designed and printed newsletter to review all the awesome things that had happened to her the preceding year.

When I was shown the offending correspondence I thought, Cute ... a little self-indulgent, but cute. Upon further review, it was easy to figure out why this newsletter was such a thorn in my roommate's big toe. I mean, great for you, newsletter woman, but what if life ain’t so honky dory on the receiving end of your marketing brochure?

I received a very similar “roundup” the other day, except mine was focused on all the awesome things my friend’s toddler was doing.

Now, I was extremely happy to receive an email from my old friend and even more happy to check out the attached photos, but I couldn’t help but think back on those old newsletters my roommate and I agreed were, yes, an incredibly annoying way of keeping in touch.

All in all, things are quite hunky dory on my end. I have my family and my health. My son is truly amazing and beautiful and up to some really cool stuff -- developmentally wise -- but I will spare you every last detail. Why? Because unless you are related to my child, chances are you really don’t care about how his reading skills are progressing.

“Wait, his reading skills?” you ask. “Are they supposed to be reading?”

My point exactly.

No, my son is not reading. Hers, on the other hand, is singing the alphabet song and counting and, yep, reading. He’s moving on to his multiplication tables next month and the month after that he’ll probably start studying trigonometry.

I’m sort of stumped on how to respond to her email. Am I supposed to write, Oh yeah? Well, mine can quote Shakespeare? Do I talk about how great he’s doing with utensils and soccer balls and all manner of drumming equipment? Do I mention what growth percentile he’s in? I can’t bring myself to do it, for fear that I’d end up in some sort of developmental milestones tête à tête.

I’m by no means slighting my friend for being proud of her son. Heck, I’m over the moon about mine! It’s just that the art of parenting does, unfortunately, involve some appraisals. We moms just want to see some evidence of the brush strokes, too.

Send off the good news newsletter, I say, if that gets your rocks off. Fire off that developmental milestones email, too, if you’re a proud mama like the rest of us. It’s just if you have managed to transcend some of the challenges the rest of us face -- like sleeping, biting, and hitting -- throw in some juicy bits, too. We parents are all in this together, after all ... it’s the good, the bad, and the ugly news, too, that make this whole journey so gush-worthy, not how many Chopin tunes he can rattle off on his piano.

What do you think of these milestone announcements?


Image via Ruth L/Flickr

language, learning, toddler development


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Kris Gamble

You know, living overseas, a lot of the families I know send out newsletters, usually emails. It's not a bad thing if you are living far away from all your family and friends.

Jeann... JeannieMS

Often with newsletters, people write them for friends and family, so some recipients likely are thrilled to know the status of little Johnny's reading. I'd be more concerned she was trying to win the status wars if it was a personal email.

Kimberly Virga

Very cute idea, I like the newsletter thing, but I would roll my eyes in disgust too. lol

ourliss ourliss

I think if it's a "family newsletter" updating everyone on what your family is doing... it's ... OK, not my thing, but OK. A newsletter centered around a toddler? Well, I suppose I get holiday cards with only the toddler's picture on it... and yes, usually my daughter keeps me pretty busy, but every detail for every body? No.

RanaA... RanaAurora

We used to do a little holiday newsletter with current pictures. It wasn't bragging so much as just talking.

Are you kidding about the multiplication tables? Just how OLD is her kid? Reading is great... but toddlers aren't supposed to be reading. They've got much more important things to worry about.

Proud... ProudSingleMum

I like family newsletters...but maybe that's just me. I haven't sent any out yet....but I've considered it

Honestly the 'my baby can read' stuff...makes me shake my head. I mean 'great for you', but come on. There is no need for a baby/toddler to read. IF (and that is a BIG IF) it comes naturally...great. I know someone who's daughter is FIVE...and reads at a 4th grade level. She reads ALL the time...because A. she gets it naturally and B. she LIKES TO. Her mother didn't sit her down and 'teach' her to read. THAT kind of baby/toddler reading makes sense. BUt to 'force' your child to learn something like that now? Haven't they read how important PLAY and using your imagination are at this age. PLUS...I LOVE reading to my kid. He LOVES having me read to him (or so I assume with the 1000000000000 requests every 4 minutes <---exaggeration :P). That is developmentally normal. Plus...I can't imagine (although if someone has a study to share, I'd be up for the read) that reading early....actually has benefits. What...so how they're bored when all the kids their age are learning to do something they know how to do? Reading comes, unless you have a developmental issue, to most people...so I don't see how this is actually 'giving the kid an edge', but more just a bunch of parents saying 'look how much more amazing my kid is than yours'. Well, go for it. I don't need to feel better than anyone. 

MamaK313 MamaK313

You make such a great point about that competitive crap that seems to go on with mothers. My child is developing just fine, but I don't feel the need to spin tales of him being a genius on the verge of writing his first book and learning college algebra. It's very annoying.

Toddl... ToddlerBrain82

I haven't received any family newsletters that go into such detail about their children's accomplishments. I normally really look forward to receiving Christmas letters from friends and family. 

tazdvl tazdvl

I think it depends on how it is written and what mood I'm in when I read it.

Karen Taylor

I think of the generations (eons, actually) of children who have not been subjected to this notion of competition, and rather, worked on learning the skills, and then cooperating to make manifest those talents and skills. How dumb we are to think we can bypass the developmental stages... and at what cost to life, exploration, and joy?!?!?!

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