How much is too much?

Family visited today, and when I pointed out Riley’s new trick – that he can stick his tongue out on command – a cousin of mine was flabbergasted. “He’s not even three months old!” she exclaimed. “Isn’t he too young to be taught these things?”

I’m proud of his progress, but it occurred to me that she might be right. Maybe I’m pushing him a little too hard, a little too quickly. According to the online experts, by three months, babies are supposed to be just learning to hold up their own heads. I noticed his new proclivity for tongue-sticking-out, and I started giving him a lot positive reinforcement. Maybe positive reinforcement in large quantities is bullying?

Riley and I made the rounds to my nearby relatives’, and only then did I realize that my son has an opportunity to be multi-lingual by the time we get back to the States. My aunt is fluent in Arabic and agreed to teach him; my cousin is fluent in Chinese (Fukienese and Mandarin) and offered to teach him both languages; my grandma’s willing to teach him Ilocano (the Filipino dialect that Rob’s mom’s family speaks); countless relatives are willing to teach him Tagalog; and I’m brushing up on my Spanish so that I can speak to more patients when I’m a nurse. Granted, the odds are good that some of my relatives might flake on their offer, but still: there’s a chance that Riley will be a multi-lingual four-year old.

I love this idea, and I know Rob would love this idea, too. Riley would be learning through conversation, and not through memorization drills. He would be skilled in a way that most adults are not. Coupled with his amiable disposition, already he’d be a worthy university candidate. But am I pushing him too hard, to quickly?

I’m pretty sure that by the morning, I’ll have figured that in letting the cards fall where they may, I’m not really pushing him at all. But before then, I thought I’d pose the question to you. What do you think?

3 responses to “How much is too much?

  1. Better that he learns while he’s young! 🙂

  2. If it’s something he is around naturally, he will pick it up. Otherwise, trying to teach him all those languages might be very much overwhelming at any age. I’m sure you’ll know when the time comes how much is too much!

  3. @ Gypsy – Yeah, that’s what I was thinking!

    @ Becky – I agree! A friend of mine made a suggestion I think I’ll follow. She said that we should limit one non-English language per person, so it’s easier for Riley to tell the languages apart. I think we’re gonna run with that idea.

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