Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Smart kids

Today I heard another mama telling me about how her child can spell her own name. I hear it a lot: a 24-month-old who can count to 25, a three-year-old who reads books. I'm happy for them, I really am. But I also wonder why my kids aren't geniuses? Every time I hear another "smart kid" story, I feel a twinge that is something between envy and guilt. I'm a pretty smart cookie, if I do say so myself. so it must not be inferior genes. Am I not spending enough time reading to them? Too much TV? Maybe I ate too many french fries while I was pregnant.

I'm not sure that I would want my child to be a genius anyway. I don't think that genius = fulfilled in any way. It certainly can cause problems -- I was pretty smart as a kid and fought the stigma of being "the smart kid" all through school. I'd rather be happy than smart, If I had to choose.

I am successful at not envying others' possessions. I don't envy supermodels' bodies. But I am thrown into a funk every time I hear that someone else's kid is ahead of her age. I love my children. I think they are just the sweetest, most fun kids on the block. Nora is beautiful, and can boogie to music like no one else. Nigel has a smile that will absolutely light up a room. So why on earth am I comparing them to others? Please, if you notice me comparing my child to anyone else, feel free to bonk me on the head.


Jo said...

You compare your kids to other kids because it's what we mamas do. We always want to make sure our babies are where WE think they should be because we want the best for them. ;) You're doing a great job and Nora especially will do everything in her own time. I'm sure that one day she will show everyone just who the TRUE genius is. :)

Mandy said...

I am guilty of most of the feelings you describe as well. I get so tired of the "my child is doing XYZ...yours?" and then the "well, I am sure everything is just fine and he is exactly where he should be...all children develop at their own pace" comments. The snarky tone is impossible to convey here, but I am sure you know what I am talking about!

I just keep the feelings at bay by remembering the things that my child does that others don't. Sure, his exceptional climbing ability can drive me batty, but my friend's "smart" son just now started jumping with both feet leaving the ground. He is the same age as my ds and mine was doing that at least 18 months ago! LOL

amber said...

I find myself feeling the same way sometimes. And then I realize how much fun I had as a kid not worrying about that kind of stuff. I had a very average upbringing, and I turned out to be brilliant ;) So, in my world, it's best to let wee kids play and learn what they're going to learn and not force 'em. There's only so much you can do with traditional knoweldge. Real brilliance comes from learning how to think, and that comes with time.