Monday, March 10, 2014

Chatty Cathy

I was in the library wasting a bit of time with the littlest about a week ago.  Another mom with two kids, a boy and a girl that were probably about 3 and 2 respectively, was in the same area as we were and ended up chatting with mine as I was gathering armfuls of books nearby (again I say...the children's section of a decent library is addictive to me).  My "little" is selectively chatty.  Apparently, this other mom passed her test because there was all sorts of conversationing happening.  Elephants and butterflies were being identified.  Questions were being answered.  It was all lovely, and it settles my nerves a bit to see one of my children being something more than frigid with friendly strangers (you know, in a safe kind of way).

But then came the "She speaks so well...!" comment with the heavily unspoken element of "...unlike mine."  Well, okay.  How does one answer that?  In doing so, I inevitably feel like I am joining in an unwanted dialogue whereupon I am, by default, saying something to the effect of "Yes, she is...and your kids aren't."  Which isn't where I want to stand on this or any issue.  When a parent offers praise to another parent in front of her own children, I find that there tends to be something of a wistful sigh imbued into those words of flattery: Oh, why, can't my child(ren) be this _____________???

Come, now, parents.  We don't have to always be praising other children.  We don't have to always be so blatant about making sure the other parent feels good about their kid.  If the child is decent at what-have-you skill, then the other parent already knows it.  Here on out, this should be my response to the future mothers in the children's section at the library:

We've been hitting the Judith Butler pretty hard.  She's almost ready to lead a class discourse about gender as a learned response. 

I realize implicitly that this post can easily be skewed a number of ways (She's just bragging!  She's just whining!  She's a heartless mother who doesn't think her kid is best thing since lemon sweet rolls with cream cheese frosting and who obviously doesn't care about what a miracle her precious little angel truly is!).  Friends, not so.  This little nugget is my chill baby, for whom I am every moment grateful.  But my bundle of intense love does not become relevant upon sizing up the competition.  We gain nothing in finding our progeny either better or worse than their pint-sized peers. 

Mind your compliments, fellow parents. 

1 comment:

Crystal said...

Huh. That makes sense to me, but I haven't thought it out coherently before. Thank you. And also, I dig that picture! (And the previous one of the boy in the field with your beans, but I forgot to mention it.)