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A first time mum at 39, trying not to let my son kill me off too soon. Busy juggling a new family, a new house and a tricky recording schedule I figured blogging would be less expensive than therapy and less embarrassing than shouting at rude and stupid people in the street/on trains/at the supermarket.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Proud mummy!?

Boychild is a bit bright.  Well actually, he's very bright. 

There I've said it. The world didn't implode, nobody died and nobody is any worse off now it's out there.

All children make their parents proud and there is no better feeling (when you're a parent, that is) than when your little one reaches a milestone, be it walking, talking, becoming potty-trained etc.   And, as parents, we do like to share these little titbits especially with our peers.  It's not meant as one-up-manship or belittling their own offspring's efforts if they have not yet achieved them, it's just our way of being proud.  

I've always been cautious and tried not to be a baby bore but yes, I did announce 'we have a walker!' on Facebook at the appropriate time.  But generally if a reference is made to Boychild's abilities it's usually because it's part of an amusing anecdote rather than being the focus.  For example, I recently posted something on Facebook about him not quite 'getting' the Christmas thing as even into January he is insisting on eating from a Christmas bowl, keeps singing Christmas songs and looking up our chimney to try to find Santa.  A friend of mine posted that her child won't even say 'mummy' yet, let alone sing a song! Her son was born on the same day as mine.   So what did i do?  I dumbed down my comment and suggested that he wasn't exactly Robbie Williams just yet (he's really not!) but as a mum you can understand the jumbled words that come out of your own child's mouth more than anyone else. And I'd deciphered 'santa', 'chimney', toys' so knew what he was trying to sing.  

The one who makes me laugh every day. 
What I failed to mention was that if I sang along with him, he interjected those words in the correct places and la-la-la'd along in all the places he didn't know the words. 

I know that my friend will not be concerned that my son can do this when hers can't (she's a pretty clued up kinda gal) especially as she already has an older son, so she knows the score.  She also knows that her little boy had a beautiful shock of hair and mouthful of teeth before I had even worked out what teething powder and baby shampoo was even for.  He was pretty advanced on that score and, even now, Boychild isn't blessed in the teeth department!  But other readers would be looking and judging and making assumptions about both of our children - good and bad.  And probably making assumptions on our parenting styles too.  But they would never say, oh no. (snigger) 

But I have to have some kind of output for my happiness that my son is a mini-genius (okay, perhaps that is a little exaggerated...). He's just 20 months old and knows all his colours, can count from 1 - 12 depending on who he's with and whether he can be bothered, he feeds himself (unless he's being lazy), chats away to his toys (coherently), makes himself understood about what he wants when he asks a question, understands that people he can't see do still exist and where they are at that time (quite a massive concept for a small child), can form pretty good sentences and is well on the way to understanding consequences.  He also recognises emotions and tells us when someone is happy or sad, and then tries to comfort the person or toy in question.  He understands jokes and misdirection. He understands the concept of sharing and tries to share his food with us and his toys.   Things that often children don't understand or can't do until the age of 2, 3 or 4. 

I knew most of this , but the rest (especially the 1 - 12 counting) was told to me by his key worker at nursery last night at parents evening.   Boychild adores CF, his key worker, and it's clear that she adores him too.  He talks about her when he's at home and she will often attempt to have her day off on a day Boychild isn't at the nursery.   But, even if she's not there, he is still perfectly happy to go to any other carer and then comes home talking about them too. 

I am immensely proud of my little munchkin and I love him enormously but the fact he can do these things has made our life a little different to many of my friends with children of a similar age.  We've struggled to travel much or eat out (or shop!) as he is difficult to keep entertained when confined to a chair. He was a terrible sleeper for over a year and responded to none of the tried and tested tricks - even the Health Visitor was at a loss. 

He will seldom just sit on your lap  - not even when he was 4 months old.  He wanted to be on the floor to roll about and explore his toys.  

At first, this upset me.  I felt like the odd one out and whenever I went for coffee with other new mums, I was always the one standing and jigging about entertaining a newborn whilst the others slept for HOURS in their prams or on their mother's laps.   I was the one on my knees with exhaustion when, even at 12 months old, he needed attention several times a night for no reason other than to say 'hello'.  I was the one feeling jealous of mothers going shopping as their tiny babies slept peacefully, waking only for a feed and cuddle as I watched on with a screaming child who settled only if you kept walking and never stopped to browse or make a purchase. To the point of me failing to even try after 3 solid months of hell. Bring on grocery deliveries and online shopping!

As time has gone on, I do know of one or two other parents with children who became more like mine when they hit walking and talking age and that makes me feel better.  To be honest, my biggest fear is being able to keep him entertained and stimulated enough as he gets older.  But I'm sure it won't come to that. 

I also know that the children who haven't reached the same milestones yet, will do so very soon.  There is no right or wrong.  All toddlers are different - thank goodness! - and at what point they speak or count or walk will not matter a jot in the future.  They all level out eventually and I'm sure that by the time they hit school age, none of us will be able to tell who did what first. Likewise, if we have a second child, I'm sure that he or she will be more in line with regular expectations and that will probably confuse me all the more as I'll have to learn to deal with a whole new set of challenges.

I suppose what I'm trying to say is that unfortunately I see myself dumbing down and belittling Boychild's achievements and efforts to avoid upsetting or worrying my friends because he can do something that their child cannot. I know there will be camps of people who think that we've been drilling our little darling at maths and english and lord knows what else, but we really haven't.  All we do is what most people do.  We play with him and we talk to him. He watches TV, he builds with blocks, he pushes his cars and trains around, pretends to make us a cup of tea, talks to his soft toys and calls them his friends and he looks at his books and we read to him.  All the stuff that most children will do most of the time.  I guess having a father who is a bit of a boff probably helps too though!  Clearly he's not getting this from his mother.

Anyway, I just want to say somewhere (here) that I am unbelievably proud of him  and I love him more than life itself.  He makes me laugh every single day. 

I am also thrilled and excited when you share your news that your little darling learnt to crawl today and that your munchkin said 'Daddy' and fed herself or successfully used the potty.  I want to share your excitement too as all kids are amazing in their own way. 

But for now I will keep my 'boasting' on here and not on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram as I know I will be labelled a pushy parent or someone who just wants to gloat.  I know that's not the case and most of my friends know that's not true, but we all know that once you get on social media there are plenty of people who like to stick their oar in.

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