Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Naughty

That was what the person, the parent of a seven month old baby living nearby, thought it appropriate to say as Mrs L popped a dummy into The Creature’s wailing mouth.

I was not there at the time. Perhaps fortunate, as I’m fairly certain I’d have wanted to grab another dummy and use it to silence her. Possibly with a bit of duct tape for good measure.

Mrs L is a kindly soul though, and ignored the statement.

She continued to ignore it when it was followed up with “my baby has never had a dummy, she’s never needed it, she’s self soothed since she was a month old”.

Another gem: “I’m really sure that [baby] will be good at sport. Because me and her dad are both really fit and good at it”.

I checked, neither of them are in the Olympics, so they can’t be that good.

Yes, three months into parenting and we are beginning to encounter competitive parenting. I shouldn’t have been surprised, I had my warning just days after The Creature was born, courtesy of @tattooed_mummy:

I wonder how long before you are drawn into the land of "competitive parenting" *sigh* try to ignore the "oh mine was already doing that at 3 weeks" sorts of comments.”
Obviously we’re all proud of our offspring. I get that. But why do so many parents feel the need to operate as their child’s personal PR machine? Cam smiled somewhere between six and eight weeks. I forget exactly when. I know I loved it. I know I blogged about it. But I didn’t make a point of asking every other parent how long it had taken their own child to smile.

I don’t care.

Just like I don’t care if your baby never needs to have his bowel movements helped out with laxatives, or that your baby could recite the alphabet (backwards and in German) when he was just hours old. It makes no difference to me or my baby.

What it does make me want to do is tell you to SHUT YOUR SMUG FACE.

Instead, I’m going to start making wild claims of developmental excellence on the part of my baby. What can I say to the competitive parents to wipe that smug expression from their face?

It needs to be good.

“Cameron was watching Question Time with me the other night, and he just couldn’t believe how the panellists were competing over which drugs they’d done. He thought it highly immature”.

Or.

“Cameron got a call from George Osborne today, asking for some input on a revised fiscal policy. Of course he had to say he couldn’t help out, he was too busy trying to work out how to hold his head up off the floor”.

Those are rubbish. Maybe I’ll just go for some one-upmanship.

“Oh, your baby is walking already? At nine months? Amazing! Cam moonwalked out of the womb, singing Billie Jean”.

Or perhaps I’ll just carry on as I have been, ignoring them and hoping they’ll go away.

23 comments:

  1. It's very difficult to avoid, though can be ignored. Everything Bug's done from crawling to walking to talking has been done at the time that she was (very roughly) supposed to. In other words, she's perfectly average. It doesn't stop these times being the monumental occasion that they rightly are.

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    1. Absolutely, and it's not celebration of achievement I have a problem with. Just when people manage to belittle your own child's achievements by banging on about theirs :-)

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  2. I find it sad that patenting has turned into a competition! Each baby is different and there is not just 1 right way to do things. I have had a lot of unsolicited advice and omments from family and strangers that I have chosen to ignore. I'm going to raise MY baby the way I feel is right! Sounds like you and your wife are doing an amazing job and your baby is very lucky!!

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    1. Cheers :-)

      Yes, ignoring what you don't want to hear is probably the way to go.

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  3. Just wait until you get asked if your child is disabled as they are not crawling at ten months! Parents can be so competitive but luckily by six months Dylan could play piano to grade 7, spell his full name and hold a headstand for over 20 seconds. Definitely makes up for the lack of crawling x

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    1. How rude! I do hope you were suitably rude back?

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  4. This 'competitive parenting' annoys me. Children are all unique and develop in their own time. My three-year-old took a long time to start talking and I took her to a speech therapist a few months after she turned two-years-old because I'd received some comments about it (mostly from my mother-in-law). The speech therapist wasn't concerned in the slightest and told me to come back if Sophia hadn't progressed at all by the time she turned three-years-old. Needless to say, she started talking not too long after that and is now a total bossy boots! I think you're doing the right thing and ignoring any comments

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    1. Absolutely, I see no need for constant comparison. It'd be boring if they were all the same!

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  5. I can't bear those people! Give them a good slap!

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    1. Next time...

      *dons slapping glove*

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  6. I have to say that I have been quite lucky and no-one has ever tried saying anything remotely competitive in regards to Iyla, maybe I'm the one doing it?! No I'm not honestly, dummies are recommended now anyway, they help prevent cot death. I think ignoring them is the best way anyway :)

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    1. I'm going to start using my "shhhh" face. I think that would work.

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  7. As individuals the OH and I are extremely competitive by nature - we are acutely aware of this and are mindful not to be when it comes to the little man. I am the way I am in part because my parents had stupidly high expectations of me as a child and the pressure it placed on me was not always nice shall we say.

    Yes, he does this, that and the other but that's because it is his time to grasp whatever it is. He is a happy little boy, progressing at his own rate and to us that is the way it should be. No two people are the same so why compare children? Some competitive parents will never be happy whatever their children achieve - believe me, I am one such child!

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    1. Happiness should always be the main thing, and other people aren't going to make me happy by telling me how much better their children are, so I'll ignore them :-)

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  8. Forget CUB, I LOL'd at the Billie Jean moment!

    *must stop reading other people's twitter conversations*

    Great post. Alas, very true.

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    1. Stalker! ;-)

      Thanks for reading and LOLing :-)

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  9. Boast about breast feeding. The baby that excels in tit-sucking is the undisputed champion par excellence. That's how it works where I live, anyway.

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    1. Might be somewhat problematic given his status as 100% bottle fed, but I suppose I could just flat out lie.

      Thanks for reading :-)

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  10. I had the dubious pleasure of being one of those parents whose child really DID do everything far quicker than anyone elses. It was rubbish. I hate competitive sorts, so would just sit mute at mother and baby groups so as not to appear a massive tosser. I couldn't have a nice chat with anyone as my son was forever crawling off somewhere or running face first into the wall while all the other babies were still at the gorgeous snuggling on laps phase. And would you believe it - I was actually on the receiving end of REVERSE COMPETITIVENESS. "Must be a NIGHTMARE having a child who never stays still. Mine likes nothing better than to sit on my lap and snuggle up. but then, I love him so much that he probably doesn't feel the need to move away from me." Wow, thanks for that oh smug one. I must try harder to love my child more. WTF?!

    Anyway - my point is that competitive parents will manage to compete over anything and they'll do it with everyone. They are best ignored. Or belted over the head with a spade.

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    1. Oh man, reverse competitiveness! Nightmare! I can imagine it though, like you say, there's a sort that will always find a way to compete.

      Thanks for your comment, and apologies for finding it quite amusing :-)

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  11. Thanks for this post. I have 3 kids - the youngest is 7 and I remember those anxious days when you can't help but to compare each other's babies. There was a particularly annoying child who was always ahead of everybody else. The only comfort I could take was that they had chosen to name him Brendan!

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  12. Great post and very true! Iv always tried really really hard not to come out with stuff like that!At the end of the day its true we are all proud of our kids and we should focus on them! Its not a competition is it!Thanks again for the great post :-) xx

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