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3yo pretending she doesn't know things - normal?

(15 Posts)
Lioninthesun Thu 13-Nov-14 21:20:30

i'm hoping this is just a completely normal (and frustrating) part of most parenting, but no one else I know with kids a similar age seems to have experienced it, so I thought I'd ask here!

Before I start, I don't want to come across as a mum who thinks her child is super smart or anything like that - I think she is pretty on target, certainly no genius prodigy child in any way.

I am finding that she is seemingly trying to get attention for 'forgetting' things - "I not remember" is a common thing to say about which book they read at nursery, which I am not so worried about. However sometimes she pretends not to recognise her own name on the name tree they have (they take the leaf with the name off and put it onto the tree to show you are there) and yet every other day she will not only recognise hers but also her best friends and always puts her name right next to hers. She is also doing it with counting, the alphabet, her surname, common words - always a sheepish look and a grin and a dramatic "Ummmm" with finger in mouth then "I not remember".

It seems to be becoming a bit of an issue as she goes to 2 nurseries and one of them (which she goes to for only one 5 hour day) says she is fine and surprises them with things like hexagon from time to time but clearly knows all of her letters and numbers up to 30 (plays hopscotch and identifies letters and objects on flash cards). The other nursery (which she goes to 4 mornings 9-12) seems to think she can only count to 7 and is starting to concern them with her speech. They say she isn't on the speech and language spectrum at the moment but behind. Her folder also seems to have them teaching her vocab like 'enormous' which she already knows but apparently they don't seem to know this (she also knows gigantic and ginormous and uses them quite a lot in day to day life which is why this stuck in my mind). The head of this nursery also decided this week that it was important to tell me "the best way to speak to toddlers is to get down on their level and let them see your mouth moving" as if I was an imbecile. I don't think she has seen me interact with DD or she would know I do this all of the time! It is this that has made me think either I am doing something quite wrong or DD is pretending not to know things at this nursery. She sounds very nasal and I took her to ENT at the hospital about 6 months ago and they said to come back when she is 4 as toddlers grow into their adenoids. I do find I have to translate for her a lot still. Perhaps the nursery simply don't understand her?

Sorry for the long rambling message - worried about it all and cried for the first time in a long time tonight in the bath when DD said she couldn't remember how to count past 3...

Does anyone have any advice?

PinkAndBlueBedtimeScares Thu 13-Nov-14 21:23:12

I have no experience of this, but from an outsider it sounds like your dd is only playing up for one nursery, is there any problems there? :/

BaffledSomeMore Thu 13-Nov-14 21:30:18

Ds is prone to pretending not to be able to count when he absolutely can. He also says 'don't know' if he can't be bothered to think. A mixture of laziness, fun and not caring mostly.

Coolas Thu 13-Nov-14 21:32:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SingSongSlummy Thu 13-Nov-14 21:39:33

It does sound slightly odd and worth pursuing with the nurseries. I would say that 'I not remember' seems quite a 'young' thing to say - more what a 2 year old might say, than a 3 year old (my nearly 3 year old would say ' I can't remember' or 'I don't remember'). Perhaps one nursery is treating her like a younger child due to trouble understanding her speech and she is playing along with that?

Lioninthesun Thu 13-Nov-14 21:41:51

I did wonder if she was just fed up - I did stop asking her and going over the alphabet/numbers etc at home a few months ago when the other nursery said there were no issues, and now wonder if I have let things slide?

Her KP at the nursery is not very good, but she is going through a lot of training. The manager has been there donkeys years though, so her showing concern is what worries me. I don't think there are any issues there as her best friend goes there and every morning she is excited to go. The other nursery (where she knows things) used to be the one where she'd struggle with me leaving if her friend was off sick, so if anything I'd expect it to be the other way around.

The attention thing is a possibility too but I have been trying to just stop doing whatever it is when she starts doing this - if she pretends she can't count the three spots on the dice we'll stop playing the game for example. Then I feel guilty for spoiling the fun and wonder if I am being a terrible parent sad

Lioninthesun Thu 13-Nov-14 21:44:13

Singsong That is a good point - I mentioned the issue with the speech to the nursery she goes to for 5 hours (where she remembers things) and they looked really surprised and said they have a lot of kids who are harder to understand but they didn't think she was a worry at all. I just don't know where it is coming from, why or who has it right!

Lioninthesun Thu 13-Nov-14 21:46:58

Baffled yes she can be lazy too - hates tidy up time. Both nurseries agree on that at least grin

barnet Thu 13-Nov-14 21:46:59

I would suggest to stop with the pressure for a few months, stop asking here to count the spots on the dice. There is no rush, just enjoy being.

Lioninthesun Thu 13-Nov-14 21:51:10

Barnet I feel like I just did that and now I am being told she doesn't know anything. I ask her to count the spots on the dice so that she understands how to play the game and move around the board but other than that I haven't gone over numbers or shapes or alphabet for months - mainly because I thought she had it pegged. I now feel as if because of that she is perhaps now falling behind at one nursery at least. I still think she is pretending but how can I say that to the nursery without sounding like a deluded mummy!

FlorenceMattell Thu 13-Nov-14 21:53:53

Maybe she is tired and doesn't want to answer.
Learning should be through play. Eg counting - "let's give all the teddies a toy to play with". So you count the teddies together and she counts out the correct number of toys.
I wonder if the 9-12 nursery is too regimented in teaching ?
The example you gave of your Dd not wanting to count the spots on the dice. I would just count them for her and move on with the game. Don't stop playing. The more relaxed you are the more she will want to play. Three is still very young. If you are concerned about her speech see your HV or get a Speech and language assessment.
You sound a caring mum to me.

longestlurkerever Thu 13-Nov-14 21:54:28

My dd refuses to count too. She can, I just don't think she likes being quizzed about it, so she says stuff like "4,18, 2, 7, 35". I am relaxed about it, tbh, though dh is always trying to get her to do it properly They aren't performing monkeys. Sorry, not meaning to be harsh - I get why you're upset at the nursery thinking she is behind, but you know the truth and she sounds a bright girl.

TheCowThatLaughs Thu 13-Nov-14 21:55:06

It doesn't really matter at this age whether she can count or not so you can just concentrate on doing things that she enjoys. Maybe she's try to let you know she's bored and would like to do something different when she pretends not to know things?

Lovelydiscusfish Thu 13-Nov-14 22:07:39

My dd (2.6) is a bugger for this. Pretends she can't count, can't do puzzles, doesn't know letters, whatever the mood takes her to pretend she can't do really, whereas at other times she will demonstrate that she comfortably can do the thing. I assume it is because, without meaning to (I hate this in myself, but sometimes lapse into it without meaning to) I can sometimes seem to pressure her to demonstrate her knowledge, by asking her stuff in a serious, learning type way, when she is just wanting to play. Because she never does it with dh, who is more laid back with her.
I remember reading something about playing with younger dc, which advised not to keep, for example, asking your child the colour of stuff when they are learning colours, because how annoying would it be to be asked to identify blue all the time?
Not saying you or the nursery workers or anyone else does this, by the way, OP. It is probably just me!

Lioninthesun Thu 13-Nov-14 22:07:41

Yes I think I am worrying about it too much. I think the fact they made quite a deal of her speech and mentioned special needs freaked me out if I am honest. I can't quite tally the two nurseries different opinions on her!

I worried for ages when she was little that she wasn't speaking well because she only really has me to interact with. Then I realised I was prattling on like a train all of the time to keep her 'hearing words' and she was simply listening and not using them herself!

I think taking a step back and not going overboard just because the nursery think she is or I am not doing something right is probably the safest bet. I think I need to take a deep breath and just go with the flow.

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