Monday, July 6, 2009

My Kid is Smarter Than Yours!

Has anyone ever said this to you? Probably not, but we sure as heck know they were thinking it, right?!

We have all been through this, I am sure. I went through it mostly with Sam, since he was my first and then after that I just didn't care one way or the other. But it still interests me, that it really matters to a lot of parents that their kids are the smarter ones.

When Sammy was a baby, I lived around a lot of first time moms or moms that had a baby around the same time as I did. I really enjoyed comparing stories and tips, what mom doesn't, right? But my feathers got a little ruffled when the parents pulled out the "how smart is my kid vs. how smart is yours" card.

It would always start as a question: "Has Sam started crawling yet?" or "Has Sam said his first word yet?" or "Does he count or say the ABCs?"

Then my answer is countered with a statement like this: "Well MY little guy has been saying his ABCs for nearly a month now..." Translation: My kid is so much smarter! Or they will say something like this: "What? He isn't crawling yet? My daughter was crawling at least 2 months ago." Translation: My daughter is way ahead in her milestones. She is so much smarter!

For a while, this made me feel bad. I felt like I wasn't doing enough as a mother to help Sammy reach his growth milestones. Until that is, Sam pulled some fast ones and gave me some awesome ammo to counter these vicious mommy attacks. Instead of feeling bad like before, this is how the conversations started to go:

Snob Mom: What? Sammy isn't crawling! My son was crawling at 5 months!
Me: No, Sammy didn't crawl. He is actually running around now. (at this point, I point out 10 month old Sammy running around with the big kids on the playground, noticing her kid sitting on the blanket watching in envy).
Snob Mom (thinking of a good comeback pulls out this nasty card): Well, that has to be bad for his brain development! All kids need to crawl for as long as they can!
Me: You try stopping a child who wants to get up and run!
Snob Mom at loss for words.

Fast forward, Sammy is now 22 months.

Snob Mom: So, I hear Sammy doesn't talk. Have you had him tested?
Me: Tested for what?
Snob Mom rolls her eyes: Autism or some kind of learning disability.
Me: No, I see no need right now. His doctor tells me that he thinks he is just a late talker.
Snob Mom: Well, my daughter knows all of her ABCs, can count to 20 and knows all her shapes and colors. Isn't she like 3 months younger then Sam? (Translation: My daughter is WAY smarter then Sam...!)
Me: Good for her. (This is where my evil side comes out and I just can't help myself!) How is she on the computer?
Snob Mom: What? The computer? That's just silly, she isn't even 2! Why would she play on the computer?!
Me: Sammy is brilliant on the computer. He works the mouse perfect. He likes to surf the net, download games, and play his math program. Just yesterday he completed the 2nd grade level. We are so proud of him! He sure loves working on the computer! (I could have picked her jaw off the floor... instead I jabbed once more) That's really cool your daughter can count to 20...

After this episode, I stopped playing the "My Kid is Smarter Than Yours" Game. It just wasn't fun. I love children, and I hate that they tend to get caught up in the pride of the parents. Every little child is so different and their growth depends entirely on what interests them, period. They say girls talk sooner because they have that strong desire to talk, to be like the big people. The same goes for potty training. Boys' priorities are so much different! Same for their tastes. While girls love pink, boys love blue (or green... Sam really likes orange). Girls love dolls, boys love cars and trains.

Honestly, Sammy has a really hard time just wanting to talk! Seriously, he could care less! He would much rather be playing than talking. Nephi on the other hand, loves to play, but he really likes to say new words and put them together. He gets a kick out of seeing my happy face when he says something right. Sam doesn't aim to please, unless it is showing us how he can put on his own DVD (20 months old) or VHS (18 months old) or even doing certain programs on the computer. Which got limited when he turned 2. We caught him downloading stuff we really didn't want on the computer.

Am I saying that my kid is the smartest? Heavens no! Sammy is just Sammy, and I love him to pieces. There isn't anything I would trade about him. He may not talk much, and have a really hard time communicating, but I have faith he will grow to be a wonderful kid, young man, and then adult. No, he is not better then anyone else, even if he is good at math. I won't lie though, to me he is one of the best kids -- but I am his mom. He is a part of me... my better part. I see myself and my husband in that little face, and how can I not think that he is perfect? He is my little angel.

There is one thing I wish I had told those moms back then. Having the smartest kid isn't important. In fact, I did some research on this, truly having a gifted kid is a real pain in the butt. They are constantly getting into trouble because their curiosity is never ever satisfied. Just be grateful that your child is healthy. Strive to let them BE children, and love them for all their accomplishments and even more for their failures. Be there for them always, and never ever compare them to others. Each is a precious unique gift from God. Cherish every moment and make it last.


Donna Gotlib said...

Sending you good wishes for a very happy week. I enjoyed stopping by. It's nice to meet you.

JM - The Princess said...

How ironic, I did a post on the some of my son's troubles this morning (and I too think that my son is perfect despite any problem he may have).

I could not find the book you recommended for "Elements" so I bought a different one yesterday. I could not wait to order from Amazon, I will keep you posted on that front.

Our Family said...

What a great post, Catherine! I think we all have a hard time with comparing our children, even ourselves, to others. It's hard to find that balance where we have a general idea of milestone ages and encourage our children to reach those, yet not freaking out if they don't master each milestone on a "perfect" schedule.

P.S. Sammy has the sweetest little face.

Anonymous said...

oh i totally agree. leave them alone & just let them be who they were created to be and just love them for whoever that is:)

Cynthia said...

Amen! I didn't have to worry about this much with my first because my twins were 29 week preemies (11 weeks early). Their small size (2 lb. babies) and whatnot made them rather incomparable with other kids.

I will say that it took me YEARS not to feel horribly guilty everytime I heard about other moms of multiples who had decent pregnancies and reasonably sized babies. I felt so horrible that *I* couldn't give my twins that same kind of start.

We enjoyed each little gain with the twins- especially our daughter. She had 12 minutes of oxygen deprivation at birth and it was unclear if she'd function normally in life. Whenever she'd hit the needed milestone we'd exhale and relax just a little- even if that milestone was later than it 'should' have been.

Comparing is a constant struggle in all areas of life. Ever notice we tend to compare our weaknesses to others' strengths?

Andrea said...

I agree-I think it's just silly when people compare children's abilities, it honestly makes me mad. Celebrate each child's accomplishments on their own-not against others! Enjoy your children for who they are and love them no matter what!

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

Sounds to me like Sammy's mom is smarter than snob mom. :)

Jill said...

Well, no need to compare my kid to yours. I'm still impressed with Sammy's ability to take apart his desk. You know all about my little boy. I think it is silly when parents start the "my kid does such and such or is smarter" stuff. It's immature. And if there's anything I've learned from having a kid with special needs, every kid is different. Why on earth would we want them all the be the same!

Catherine said...

Hey there Cat,

This is Ben's cousin, Catherine. I just found your blog, and I love your honesty and wit! I'm so impressed by your comeback to snob mom. Way to go! Your boys are handsome just like their daddy. I'm so proud of Ben for serving our country. What a awesome guy!

I'm so happy I found your blog! I'll send you an invite to my blog so we can keep in touch better. Talk to you soon!

Mama Nut said...

Catherine! It is so good to hear from you! I would love an invite to your blog. I am so glad you found me!

Anonymous said...

It's because of snob moms just like the one in your post that I steer clear of any sort of "mom clubs" and "play-dates" and those sorts of things.

Melanni said...

This post hit home to me...and probably every other Mom out there. I have to admit, when I had my first baby I wanted a reassurance that he was hitting milestones normally so I was one of those Mom's who would ask things like "how long has she been crawling?". Having a second has mellowed me out-a lot. Now when I notice Mom's comparing or when they tell me about how young their children were when they started doing something I just say "Wow! Sounds like you have a litle genius" b/c that's really how they want to feel and then they stop talking about it(0:

Jennie @ ModernMamaz said...

Sometimes adults can act like the kids in high school that the rest of us absolutely couldn't stand being around! Actually, often. Thats alright though, I'd rather my kid be humble and caring and empathetic than the smartest kid on the playground anyway!

Bridget said...

That makes me laugh, because people always think their kids are better. I was hanging out with family when Ian was littler and one of our relatives said, "I just didn't realize how advanced my kid was until I saw him with normal kids (aka my son)." I thought it was pretty funny how people can just be tactless. Oh well, I guess it's humorous!

Practically Perfect... said...

Some parents are just hateful. My sister's kids have all been at the 99th percentile for growth, so people always assumed that they were much older. They would make comments to her about how they couldn't believe children as old as hers were still wearing diapers or weren't doing such-and-such. She had perfected this classic "look" that she would just give these moms (and dads), stare at them for a few seconds of silence, then point out the fact that they were only X months/years old. Honestly, why people think it's appropriate to make comments like that is just beyond me.

Kristin said...

Great blog! I am just starting my own and it's fun to read and see all the different styles out there. Have a great day!

Helen McGinn said...

Totally, 100% agree. What a gorgeous wee lad.
I hear all sorts of stuff from other school mums and I want to shout "give them a break, this is only primary school! Enough already, mums! A bit of support would be lovely". :O)

Lady Di said...

Remember I have a son that is not your typical seven year old boy. Unfortunately, many people only like to point out their differences or what some would call weaknesses. However, what their narrow minds fail to understand is that these children have amazing strengths (your son's computer skills for example). My son is an "outside of the box" kind of thinker and his way of looking at things is under appreciated by those that do not understand him. I am always proud of him and have learned not to worry about the snob moms of the world.

Unknown Mami said...

It's silly to be competitive. Kids are the best at being themselves and that's all they need to be.