Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Next week I go back to teaching Child Development at DVC’s San Ramon Campus. And I feel like a fraud. I’m supposed to teach the students about the stages of a child’s growth and development, which I do. But what I don’t do is cover the stages that no one ever talks about. Now that I’m a grandparent of three, the truth is rearing its ugly head.

I realized it last year when my four-year-old grandson Bradley, a budding artist, got a hold of a colorful marker and drew a “picture” on his mommy and daddy’s bedroom wall. This was never covered in the textbooks. I was reminded again last week when he decided to decorate his baby sister’s face with a black marker. The shocking thing is, no one ever told Bradley’s parents there’d be days like this.

But I knew.

Back when I was a baby my mother had only one child development book available to tell her what to expect—Dr. Spock’s Baby and Child Care. When I had my first baby, she handed the book down to me. Today parents have a plethora of child development books to choose from, the most popular being What to Expect When You’re Expecting.

But now that I’m heavily into the grandparenting years, I realize what a crock all these advice books are. Sure, they cover the basics like toilet training (“Get a musical potty!”), but they neglect to include the truth behind these developmental milestones (“Never let a newly toilet-trained child be a flower girl in a wedding.”) So while parents arm themselves with Dora The Explorer toilet seats, they’re blindsided by the surprises that come with actually raising a child.
I’ve decided to write an expose and tell the truth about “What to Expect After You’ve Expelled (the Baby).” Nothing will be spared. I plan to include the following:

Age 1 Month: Developmental stage: Baby has a grasp reflex. In truth, baby will “grasp” your hair with one hand and pull it out by the roots, while “grasping” your eyes out with the other hand.

Age 6 Months: Developmental stage: Baby can sit upright. In truth, when you place baby in a high chair, she will arch her back, slide out of the chair and escape the premises before you can even buckle her in.

Age 9 Months: Developmental stage: Baby begins crawling. In truth, baby will crawl around picking things out of your carpet to snack on while heading for your purse to find your lipstick and draw on her face, teeth, cloths, and couch.

Age 1 Year: Developmental stage: Baby says first word. In truth, baby will not only call everyone male “da-da,” but loves to say “truck” with an “F,” loudly, in church.

Age 2: Developmental stage: Baby uses independence skills. In truth, baby will be able to use scissors for cutting his own hair, will dress himself in either the same shirt for a week, his Halloween costume, or just his pajama top, and will punch “911” on your landline, bringing the police who consider calling Child Protective Services.

This is just the tip of the iceberg we calling “child development.” Just wait until I write the sequel: “Your Teenager: Military School or a Convent?”


Blogger Kathleen Taylor said...

Sing it, Gramma!

August 19, 2009 at 7:55 PM  
Anonymous Caron Kamps Widden said...

hilarious and true! teach them well, penny, they deserve the truth!! ~Caron Kamps Widden

August 19, 2009 at 8:07 PM  
Anonymous Isabel Lau said...

Laughing out loud so much the boys had to ask me, "what was so funny?" - great entry!

The new books sound like a great reality check.

August 20, 2009 at 1:42 AM  

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