Throw a rock in a NYC playground and you're likely to hit an Alpha-Parent who can rattle off the various achievements of their precious progeny.
Look, Sally's only two but she can say the alphabet! Peter's four and can play Mozart on the violin! Did you hear about Ethan? He can count to ten in three languages! What does your kid do?
I try not to get caught up in all that competi-parent bullshit. NYC is brimming with Type-A overachievers and I think it's more than a little twisted that so many of them transfer their own issues and competitiveness onto their pre-schoolers. Lately I've seen some kids wound so tightly that if you stuck coal up their asses, diamonds would shoot out.
Today, I saw a mom at the playground practically yelling at her kid and forcing him to play. Go on the slide, Jimmy! Climb the ladder, Jimmy! Throw me the ball, Jimmy! Why aren't you doing anything, Jimmy? When Jimmy didn't respond, she shrieked at him to get in his stroller because it was time for his music lessons.
Man, I just wanted to grab that woman and shake the shit out of her!
Look, I'm not under any delusions. Like most parents, I think my kid is the cutest fucking kid in the world. However, objectively speaking, I also realize that, at this point in her life, my daughter is not as developmentally advanced as some other kids her age.
But in typical fashion, BossLady and I don't stress out about the Peanut's academic development and we're both secure enough to joke about it. (Typical comments: "You know, she'd be reading by now if not for all the Ecstasy you took in college!" or "She's ain't that bright, Cletus, but dang she sho' is pretty!")
As an avid reader, it KILLS me that she'd rather run around the apartment sticking hair pins up her nose! I'm constantly trying to read to her, teach her the alphabet, or engage her in conversations. Most of the time, she's got no interest.
But you know what? The Peanut's a happy kid. As she should be. She's TWO! I don't want to raise a stressed-out kid filled with angst and anxiety. I want her to have fun. There's plenty of time for her in the future to learn a language, master an instrument, take ballet lessons, or earn a black belt in Karate.
Right now, she's busy doing much more important things that she truly enjoys, such as...
- Screaming like a banshee just for the fun of it.
- Walking around with her hands down the back of her diaper.
- Wiping boogers on my leg.
- Spinning around in circles until she passes out laughing.
- Sitting outside our apartment building and high-fiving everyone who walks by.
- Talking to flowers.
- Throwing all her toys in the toilet just to see what will happen.
- Laughing at her own farts.
Oh yeah...and her all-time favorite thing to do these days?
Play with garbage.
Yup, that's my girl!