I'm a competitive person. You know that episode of "Friends" where Monica throws a plate over a game of Pictionary? It's amazing that I haven't ever done something like that. My own husband doesn't like watching sports with me because I get so worked up. We've had a couple of very intense games of Uno between us. I play to win.
The one place in my life where I try REALLY hard not to be competitive with is my child. Sure, we all compare our kids to their peers, it's only natural. It's when that turns into putting pressure on your toddler to perform and then letting everyone else know how inferior their child is that it becomes obnoxious.
Let me give you an example. A few weeks ago at Eva's sports class another one of the moms (who has a son a few days younger than my daughter) struck up this conversation with me:
Her: Does she always run around like this?
Me: Every waking moment.
Her: See, this is the only place I can get him to run around. When we're at home all he wants to do is sit at the table and practice writing the alphabet. I know this makes a lot of other mothers jealous, but that's just what he does.
Sure, lady. It was all I could do not to respond with, "Oh, really? Even when you turn off the electrical device that keeps him there?!" She then went on to express her displeasure with the policies that all places have stating that you can't bring your kids there when they're sick. Yes, you read that correctly. I stood there wondering if that conversation had really just happened. Eva recognizes all the letters of the alphabet and can write a few of them, but she certainly doesn't obsess with writing them all- thank goodness! I'm just gonna go ahead and assume that no other kid under the age of 3 does either.
My other current favorite competitive event right now is potty training. Don't get me wrong, once it's over and done with, you should get to brag a little. You've earned it. I know I'll want to shout it from the roof tops when we're done. (OMG, when will that be?!?) I just get annoyed when people are smug because they have the youngest child in the room no longer wearing a diaper. Last I knew, the exact age at completion of potty training is not a question on college applications. Sure, maybe for the Ivy League schools, but I'm pretty confident that as long as it happens before the start of preschool in the fall, it'll be all right. She'll just have to settle for a state school. With a little extra hard work, she may even be able to find success later in life.
Just like every other mother out there, I truly believe that my child is a genius. She does things everyday that amaze me. She's bright, sweet, well-behaved, and is creative on a level that I still aspire to. But please, if it ever sounds like I'm using my child's accomplishments to make others feel bad, PLEASE stop me before I make that turn. Also, I'd like to not put performance anxiety on my toddler. There's plenty of time for that to develop later.
I may be done ranting and raving.....for now. Or maybe I'll continue this series and name it, "How To Be Perfect, Just Like Me. Then Maybe We Can Be Friends." We'll see where the week takes us. And if you'd like to read more about ridiculous parental competition (that includes an Excel spreadsheet!), go on over to The Diaper Monologues. You won't be disappointed.