…On to the main Rant of this [post]: People who think that we are pushing Esmé too hard; that our expectations are too high for her. After all, she is just a 10-month old baby.
I have two things to say in response. First, I think parents have a moral obligation to set high (and realistic) expectations for their children. If a parent doesn't believe in her child's abilities, who will?
…A key point here is that the expectations are realistic. I first gave Esmé colored markers to play with when she was four months old. I didn't expect her to write her name or draw a flower right away. In fact, I had to coax her to even make marks on paper. I didn't push her, though, and was perfectly happy if she wanted to spend her time figuring how to put the caps back on the markers or eating the crayons (well, maybe not eating the crayons – I get tired of washing wax out of her teeth). I just kept providing her with opportunities to draw and encouraging her to do so.
This week she surprised me by grabbing a pen while sitting at my office desk and "writing" on a piece of paper for a long while with no prompting from me: big bold strokes, little marks, and dots. She's repeated this performance a few times now. So our next goal is to make specific marks: lines, circles, etc. As she learns more, my expectations will become more. And if they seem high to you, it's simply because she is a bright little girl.