I’m sure I’m not the only person who has been led to believe that they were the smartest child that ever did grace the earth. Like most people with a proud mother, I have spent my entire life hearing the same stories told over and over and over again. I know them all by heart. My mother has always been a pro at bragging about her genius daughters. And it has always been endearing – that is, until I had a child of my own.
We all know what it’s like to anxiously compare our children to the milestone charts on Baby Center and other children at the park. It’s not out of any sense of competition or anything – I couldn’t give a shit about that. I just kinda want a litmus to know whether I am totally failing or not. Am I succeeding at this whole motherhood thing? Am I giving my child the tools to measure up to his peers? Well, comparing your child to other children is one thing – comparing him to yourself as a child is a whole other scenario.
It’s great basking in the glory of your early childhood developments. I always found the stories pretty entertaining. There’s the one where I taught myself how to tie my shoes when I was a year old. By my mother’s memory, I sat in the dining room for six hours straight. She just tried and tried and tried until she got it! Pretty impressive, but not as impressive as the time I told the doctor my ear hurt – when I was six months old.
My sister was even more amazing than I was. One Christmas Eve she climbed out of her crib, descended the staircase and sat before the tree in awe, saying how pretty! She was a year old.
Before I had kids, it was easy to subscribe to the notion that my sister and I were both super-geniuses, taking the world by storm since infancy. But after I had a child these stories just confused me. What was going on with my child? Where were my amazing tales of his supernatural development?
As if the milestone police at the park weren’t enough, I was now comparing my child’s development to my own. That can’t be healthy. Every Velcro shoe I was forced to buy was a disappointment. Why isn’t he taking a clearly genetically-predisposed interest in shoelaces? I handed him a pair of shoes one day and he just stared up at me as if to say, are you putting these on or what? My thoughts became clouded with questions. We went to the doctor last week and he just stared at her. He didn’t say a goddamn thing about the rash he’s been scratching for the last week. What the hell?