Tonight after I changed Bun’s very wet diaper, he picked it up and toddled over to the kitchen. I followed him, intrigued. He stumbled a few times on the way there because he was also holding a pocket-size hymnbook and was wearing socks. He made it over to the trashcan and then looked at me as if to say, “Okay, open it.” So I opened the trashcan and he dropped it in and waved goodbye. I did detect a bit of curiosity in him about what else he might find in the trash. But overall I was impressed that he knew where to take the diaper—because I’ve never asked him or shown him.
This got me thinking, what else could I teach him? Or rather, what else have I taught him?
When Pookie was nine weeks old I had an appointment and recall asking the nurse (who I had just learned was pregnant with her third child), “What do you teach him at his age?” She was like, “At nine weeks?” I very earnestly said, “Yes. He doesn’t seem to pay attention very long and keeps falling asleep when I read to him. I recite his ABCs and nursery rhymes and play classical music for him. Is there anything else I could do?” I think she told me to nap and not worry about it yet.
I wonder how much more of our brains we would use if we were actively taught and exposed to a lot more stimuli at 9 weeks or 14 months. Even if we weren’t expected to retain anything but were given the chance, I bet we’d see a lot more Einsteins and Newtons. It seems a shame to not start teaching children until age 5.