Now that playdates have commenced, let the competition begin! Oh, you were unaware that playdates consisted of physical agility tests, spelling bees, and fashion face offs? Well, my friend, they do. I suspect the further south you are on hwy 680 or I-5, the more truthful this becomes. The academic town of Davis, where I live, is more the spelling bee type, and less of the who’s who of fashion. I will say that “Sophie la Giraffe” has definitely squeaked her way into the elites in this town. If you are unaware of this strangely popular Giraffe, once you have a child, you will know her all too well. Your child is kind of a nobody without one…I am just saying. All jokes aside, once your child is more than just a sloth you suckles on your boob, and develops a personality and skill set, you WILL turn into a competitive freak. It is only natural. As humans, we are competitive in nature. If you are one of those one-uppers before you reproduce, than prepare yourself for the juices to start following triple time when in a room full of other babies, who most likely, will all be doing something your perfect baby is not. All babies develop at their own pace, and though your little bundle is crawling circles around the other babies, someone elses offspring will be talking circles around yours (most likely, mine). Now, you will smile and say something like, “Wow, she is so verbal”, but you will be thinking “F, my son is behind”. I wish I could say I have learned to suppress these feelings of competitive rage, but I haven’t. I am sure is was a skill that I didn’t master as a child that caused my mother self-doubt. Just yesterday, I was at a baby shower, and there was a little girl 2-weeks younger than my son who was already cruising furniture. I immediately started internalizing competitive self-doubt wondering why my son wasn’t doing that yet. After a few jealous minutes, I remembered how difficult it is to keep a watchful eye on him now, and he is just crawling. I am not ready for a walker. Back to reality I went. I really am genuinely happy, most of the time, for these other mothers and fathers whose children are freakishly excelled…but sometimes, I am just jealous. If you know my daughter, you know she is a talker, and many were jealous of her vocabulary. I could see it and hear it their voice. Without sounding boastful, she was a savant verbally. By the time she was a year old, she said, clear as day, 20 words. Most are lucky to utter 1 or 2 words, other than “dadda” or “momma”. Just to drive it home, here is the list that, yes I wrote, saved, and attached it to a page in her baby book…a momentum, if you will.
What can I say, I was (am) a proud mommy, and this to this day is the ONLY thing that she did before most children. Okay, other than potty training…she was pretty early with bowel control too. Anything having to do with large or fine motor skills, she was SLOW. She didn’t crawl until 10 months, walk until 14, she just learned to pedal a tricycle by herself a couple of months ago (she is 3 1/2), as for shoes, she can do it herself sometimes, and getting herself dressed, forget about it. Needless to say, I was at the other end of the competitive scale at playdates. Elle was only receiving the “thanks for participation” ribbons, instead of winning the coveted trophy every parent desires for their mantel, next to their “look at how fantastic I am” trophy they won in highschool.
(I would like to point out that “cockca” is on the list. I didn’t realize that when I taught her to say this before putting something in her mouth that had been on the floor or not meant for a mouth at all, was taboo. I only found this out when my niece had picked up this glorious word from my daughter and repeated it a her daycare. When my sister came to pick her up that day she so shamefully said it, my sister was pulled aside and asked her where Briana had learned such a forbidden word…who knew?) For the record, I stand by my decision to use it, and I plan to use it again for my sons vocabulary too. Afterall, it is the phrase my grandparents used to describe cigarette ashes that I would try to eat.
Any who, no matter how you want to spin it, everything having to do with your child is a competition. If not a competition with another stranger at the park, than with your spouse. Trust me, the day your child says they would rather hang out with you instead of daddy, you will feel victory, and have no problem pointing out your win to your spouse later. He will most likely come back with “yeah, well she said “dadda” first! It is normal to feel this way, it is how we are wired. I can only imagine how bad the competition is going to get once elementary school starts, college, careers, oh, my. We are in for long, competitive, jealous, haul! Just remember, it is totally normal to want your child to be doing what other babies are doing, and doing it better. Just don’t let that jealousy turn into rage. No one wants the crazy psycho one-upper mom or dad at the playdates…simply supress it, and let it fester. It works for me 🙂