Although I still lean on the nurture part of the nurture v. nature debate, I have given the nature part of intelligence a little more credence after having children.
It’s not about how much stimulation you can give your kids. It’s not about being a perfect parent. Some things are hard wired.
For example, I’ve been counting with my two-year-old since he was born. Two ice-cubes, five buttons, 1 cookie in two parts, 10 ladybugs that get eaten, only to mysteriously appear with their “friends” at the end of the book. We play a number puzzle from Lakeshore that consists of strips of wood with numbers at the bottom. When the numbers are lined up correctly, you get a picture.
He doesn’t have one-to-one correspondence yet. (He will count things twice, count several things once, and simply doesn’t have the concept.
He cannot count by rote beyond 3. He gets mixed up after that.
He recognizes one or two, but gets mixed up on three or four object. I haven’t bothered to evaluate anything more than that.
He doesn’t recognize numerals all that consistently.
And do you know what? He’s right on track! In some ways, he’s quite average; in others he’s a little ahead of the game (I suspect because we work on these things).
So although it is good to stimulate your child’s brain, it is not good to get carried away, and believe that if we worked with them enough, they would end up super-brilliant. It seems that they’ll learn when they learn, given the opportunity. Keep challenging. Keep stimulating. But don’t get discouraged or prideful when your child doesn’t exceed your expectations.