A few years ago, I wrote a column called 'My Kid Is Awesome,' which is practically its own category on the STFU, Parents blog. In fact, the blog was inspired over five years ago in part by a mom friend of mine who was tired of reading about how amazing and intelligent and GIFTED!! her friends kids are. (Well, according to them, and maybe some arbitrary test scores, I dunno.) When you're a parent, you're bound to be fascinated with each and every achievement your kid makes, whether it's eating like a champ as an infant, pooping on the potty for the first time as a toddler, or getting that first 'A' on a report card in grade school. Every move a child makes for the first several years of his or her life is celebrated with applause, smiles, pats on the back, ice cream treats, and yes, updates on Facebook to make the achievement all the more official.
For a certain set of parents, Facebook is the ultimate baby book. Forget about scrapbooking about these milestones and having no one around to see your handiwork! Facebook (and Instagram, and Pinterest, etc.) has made it possible to share each and every crowning glory from the very small to the monumental, literally the second something happens. The second a kid ties his shoes for the first time, or memorizes thePythagorean theorem, or sings in the talent show, hundreds if not thousands of friends, relatives, former coworkers, and random acquaintances who have never even heard of your kid will know of his or her brilliance. They might even get to watch a video, if they're lucky. And because so many of us tend to "Like" our parent friends' updates about their kids' achievements out of a combination of both joy and pity (sorry, that's #realtalk), parents are encouraged to share more. Did 50 people "Like" the update about little Nevaeh's report card in the fall semester? Well, then, why not show everyone how well she did in the spring semester! And let them know that she's improved her Spanish considerably (más mejorada!), and fill them in on her newfound love of dolphins! Seriously, she's obsessed with dolphins and knows everything about them! She knows more about dolphins than any kid in her class, FOR SURE. And isn't everyone delighted by that compelling piece of information?
Not really, no. It's not that parents' friends don't care, exactly, it's just that there are so many kids being posted about in the average adult's newsfeed, it's tough to keep track of them all. It's hard enough remembering their names and ages and favorite Katy Perry songs, let alone recalling what grade they're in and how they're doing in school. And I suppose that's precisely why some parents pummel us with this prideful information -- so we'll know and remain informed -- but honestly, unless your kid is extraordinary, most people aren't clamoring for updates. (And if they are, they probably go by the names "Grandma" and "Grandpa.") So now that school is back in session, I thought I'd highlight some examples of achievement updates that parents might think their friends need to know, but that they can actually keep to themselves. Don't be a braggart on social media, parents. It might make you feel like a great parent, but it can also make you sound like a dick.
1. (Really) Advanced For Her Age
Around the age that most babies start nonsensically babbling, Cora has communicated the word "hi" (and fully understood its meaning, I'm sure). This means that by the time she's six months old, she'll be walking, and by a year old, she'll be running marathons. By the time she's two years old, she'll be finishing her doctoral dissertation on the projected impact of fracking in the Marcellus Shale formation and the effects on the subsistence economy in eastern Appalachia. What -- you don't believe me? This kid's a genius!
2. Be Impressed Or Be An Idiot
How the hell am I supposed to avoid making a joke about a mother bragging that her son, MONTANA, just finished putting together a puzzle of the United States? Is this a practical joke? Emilia has only presented options a) and b) regarding how her friends should react, but what about option "c) you're still too baffled that I named my son Montana to be impressed by his puzzle skills"?
3. Wise Beyond Her Years
Whenever a parent says, "My kid can do X, Y, and Z, and I don't know HOW the teachers are gonna deal with her when she gets to elementary school and blows everyone out of the fucking water with her high IQ and off-the-charts intelligence!", an angel loses its wings. Choose your words carefully, parents. Watching a documentary about Einstein while lazying about on the couch isn't exactly rocket science.
4. Precocious Children Are Super Adorable
Top 3 Annoying Things People Say To Their Parent Friends About Their Kids Being Awesome:
1. He/she is a genius just like her mom/dad!
2. OMG you HAVE to publish a book of everything your amazingly hilarious child says. Those quips need to be in print! It'll be a bestseller! :)))
3. Someone get this kid a TV show / an agent / a podcast / an audition / some headshots!
"This kid slays me" gets an honorable mention, because Rachel is commenting on a post about karate class, and "slays" makes me think of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Buffy practiced martial arts. There's a tie-in, and I enjoy a good pun. But anyone who says "This kid slays me" is probably awful in real life.
Also: the inclusion of "herring" is what really put Jessica's status update over-the-top for me. Not only is her kid more verbose than those other kids, but he's got a fancier palate, too! In the words of the submitter: "This is a status update from a woman who is CONSTANTLY posting "cute" stuff her kid says, usually in a way that makes it clear she's just bragging about how goddamn clever and hip he is -- and how clever and hip she and her husband are, by extension. (She actually used the phrase "verbal precocity" to describe him in a status once.)"
VERBAL. PRECOCITY. Don't do that, parents.
5. Multitasking Math Whiz
When spending quality time on the toilet, some children goof around on their iPads while others are busy doing math equations in their head. Nothing like a trip to the bathroom to put addition and subtraction into focus! If you take a solitary dump in the loo, add the number 256 to 256, carry the four, and then divide by the Number Two, you get ONE proud mama!
6. Painting Prodigy Auctions Off Important Work
BIDDERS, TAKE YOUR MARKS! Get that pointer finger on your computer mouse, because this masterpiece ain’t going for pennies, okay?
Read more: https://www.mommyish.com/?p=139320#ixzz3CrmRIC5e This is a work of art painted with the signature stroke techniques of Jackson Pollock, available for charity because the artist is a good boy who not only donates his work to Relay for Life auctions, but listens very attentively to instruction in art classes, as well. He is not above learning more about his craft, despite being a raw talent, and this fact alone should ensure the painting will go for $1500-2500. However, the bidding will begin at $5. You'll be helping someone in need, building your art collection, and investing in your future with this prized piece. Buy your tickets now to have a chance to bid! If you have even the vaguest notion of what greatness looks like, you know this opportunity is not to be missed.