Pregnant women are subjected to unsolicited advice from any and everyone during their 9 month adventure. And surely it continues all through the child's life. But beyond advice is the sharing of experiences, and while this could be a exercise in solidarity, I have found that I'm likely to snap soon and throw my shoe at the next mom who decides to pull one of these:
"Oh well my baby slept 8 hours a night their first week home."
"Oh, my baby never cried."
"My baby was perfect."
As if this isn't obnoxious enough to hear bragging, it doesn't end there. We then learn that these children are apparently geniuses.
"Bobby was speaking in full sentences at 6 months."
"Susie was reading chapter books at one."
"Donnie could do complex algebra problems in kindergarten."
How many other women out there know what I'm talking about? Not only do you hear about how their child was born potty-trained, they also reached every milestone years ahead of the norm. And I would just like to tell those women:
No. No they did not.
I don't know where you can buy these rose-colored memory filters, but the likelihood is your kid showed some remote interest in a picture book about a bear, screamed "Baaaraarraa," and you now remember that as the moment they could read.
Let me be clear. Your story is not impressive. It just makes me want to say, "Really? Joey was reading that early? Weird that he is so average now."
I believe that every parent has the right to brag on their child. You want to share their accomplishments. But why are we so obsessed with our kids being the first to do everything? Why is it so important to remember them as the most intelligent baby on the planet?
If this continues after my daughter is born, I'm going to have a new response to those mother's glory stories of likely BS.
For now, I smile and nod and say "Wow. That is great."
Instead, the new reaction is to act terrified, grab my boyfriend's hand and say "Oh no Matt! Our daughter is only progressing according to normal standards set by the pediatrician! She's never going to get into Harvard at this rate."
If you want to share some delusional memory of how exceptional your baby was, consider now that they are a B or C student who is just "pretty good" on their sports team of choice. And that doesn't make them any less special. You have a better chance at relating to and comforting these new moms (like me) if you are honest and give us realistic expectations.
"Kids are all different. My daughter started talking right at 12 months, but my son didn't really talk until 18 months. There is no exact age."
Try a down-to-earth conversation like that for a change. Trust me, you will avoid my shoe to your head this way.