Natalie suffers from second child syndrome. We all know it's not a rare disease, nor is it fatal (I'm proof of that), but it is a condition slow to show itself until - dun, dun, dun - it's too late. Or nearly, anyway. Common indications of this syndrome include, but are not limited to: a lack of baby pictures displayed in one's home, a tapering of blog posts chronicling milestones, increased screen time in comparison to the first born, earlier exposure to sugary cereals and fizzy drinks, and often a delay in starting extra-curricular activities because the parents are "too busy" carting the first born to its lessons and such. And finally, it can show itself in more academic ways (as it's begun to around here, much to the father's dismay). I give you the following examples:
1. When asked what city we live in, Natalie is likely to answer any of the following: Souf Taroyina, America, Da Unided States, Norf Taroyina or Ayaska. She is highly unlikely to say Sumter, unless given the prompt of, "what's the name of your soccer team?" in which case she says we live in Sumter Soccer Club.
2. Tonight she announced she wanted to count by tens. It went like this, "ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, free, two, one, byast off!" Wyatt and I smiled, I applauded her counting backward from ten and she beamed.
3. Then she announced she wanted to count to one hundred. It went like this, "one, two, free, nine, twenty, huh?" We laughed.
4. Then she announced she wanted to count by M's. That's when the severity of her condition hit me.
As her mom - of the stay at home variety, to boot - I take much responsibility for her lack of academic prowess. Maybe I should've been willing to put her in preschool as a two-year old; I mean, Wyatt got three years of preschool and he knows all this stuff. Maybe we should be doing worksheets in the afternoons. Maybe Nick Jr. isn't actually preschool on tv like it claims. Or maybe it's just that our adult brains are older and slower so we think Wyatt knew these things at four-and-a-half but he really didn't. Or maybe…brace yourself for this one because it's a wild theory… my kids are really different from each other!
I mean, Natalie could make you scrambled eggs or macaroni and cheese from a box without much adult assistance. She's been riding her bike for well over a year, can run like the wind, is mastering the scooter, knows the habitats of a lot of different animals (thank you, Wild Kratts), is a master frog-catcher, showers herself pretty effectively and can clean a bathroom with the best of them. Not bad, I guess.
Like most kids with second child syndrome, I suspect she's sandbagging on a few of those academic questions just to keep us on our toes. Or maybe she thinks she's funny and just wants to make us laugh.