My daughter can scribble.
It's a secret talent she's been hiding from me for who knows how long. What else can she do? Probably drive or bull ride or do handstands. Mia probably reads chemistry textbooks in her crib after I finish reading her "Happy Baby Colors" at bedtime.
I discovered my daughter's amazing artistic talent when child development specialist Katherine Broekhuysen asked me if she could.
"I don't think so," I said. "I don't know. Maybe?"
"Why don't we try?" Broekhuysen said. She grabbed a fat red crayon out of her bag and handed it to me. She told me to draw on a sheet of paper and give the crayon to my daughter, who plucked it up with her tiny fingers and scribbled away.
We don't have any crayons in our house. We figured she'd eat them. She might, Broekhuysen said, if we turned her loose unattended. I promised not to do that, so Broekhuysen said crayons would be a good idea.
If it wasn't for this suggestion, we might have waited until Mia was in high school to let her color. I took her to a child development screening offered by the Oklahoma City-County Health Department.
My daughter and I spent an hour with Broekhuysen and speech-language pathologist Debbie Shapiro. They asked lots of questions about how she moves, plays, makes sounds and interacts with people.
The good news: my daughter is normal. Or as normal as she can be with parents like hers.
But there are lots of skills she doesn't have just yet. Or maybe she does and she's just hiding them, like her ability to do handstands. Broekhuysen and Shapiro said oftentimes we have to show children how to do something. Once we do, they'll catch on. It can be easy not to think of things to teach, like moving objects, coloring, rolling a ball and stacking. While play may be routine, practicing specific skills may not be.
So for the past several days I've sat on my living room floor with my daughter, taking toys out of the basket and putting them back in. She mostly looks at me like, "Why are you doing that? You just took them out. That's completely inefficient." Then she ignores me and bangs some blocks together.
I have a feeling she can do these things. She's just a sneak who enjoys watching me act ridiculous. But I guess that's what parenting's about: acting foolish and setting a good example.
Upcoming developmental screenings
Experts with the Oklahoma City-County Health Department are offering developmental screenings at various libraries this fall, in addition to appointments at the health department office. They screen children from birth through age 5 for social, emotional, physical and verbal progress. The appointments last for one hour, and the cost is based on a sliding scale. To schedule an appointment, call 425-4412. Here is the schedule for developmental screenings for the rest of the year:
• Belle Isle Library: Oct. 6, Nov. 3 and Dec. 1.
• Bethany Library: Oct. 1, Nov. 5 and Dec. 3.
• Capitol Hill Library: Sept. 22, Oct. 6, Nov. 3 and Dec. 1.
• Choctaw Library: Oct. 7, Nov. 4 and Dec. 2.
• Del City Library: Sept. 20, Oct. 18, Nov. 15 and Dec. 13.
• Edmond Library: Sept. 15, Oct. 13, Nov. 10 and Dec. 8.
• Midwest City Library: Sept. 15, Oct. 20, Nov. 17 and Dec. 15.
• Downtown Library: Sept. 23, Oct. 28, Nov. 18, Dec. 16.
• Ralph Ellison Library: Sept. 21 and Nov. 16.
• Southern Oaks Library: Sept. 17.
• Village Library: Sept. 16, Oct. 21, Nov. 18 and Dec. 16.
• Warr Acres Library: Sept. 17, Oct. 8, Nov. 12 and Dec. 10.