I was watching a discussion on internet tv the other day, with mothers discussing all sorts of issues. I forget which one it was, there seem to be so many "mummy" tv channels on line these days. Anyway the conversation turned to "bragging" about our children's achievements.
The panel were saying that they would never crow about something their child has done, for fear of the other parent feeling bad. They feel compelled that if they say something positive "oh Johnny came first in the maths competition" that they have to immediately counter it with "but he is rubbish at spelling".
It really made me think. I am a crower. I am forever going on about something clever Joseph has said or done. I am immensely proud he has over 200 words. But I know 2 year olds who are speaking in full sentences, who are running and jumping. I know 2 year olds who are potty trained. Joseph doesn't do these things yet. But is close on the sentences!
If I "crow" to another mother, I am celebrating Joseph and what he has achieved. And, I expect the other parent to do the same. I would never want to make another parent feel badly about their child, and I think all children are amazing, and incredible, and have something to offer the world. Each child is unique, and a little miracle, whether they are premature or not.
I wonder if its a cultural thing, in Australia we are very open, and very direct. We talk about our kids in glowing terms, we seem quicker to celebrate. In England, people seem a lot more circumspect, and a lot less likely to "brag" about their children.
I think kids should be celebrated! I love talking about Joseph, about words he says, about funny things he does. Obviously, being his mother, I think he's a genius! I love the fact that this little dinky dot, who was so tiny and frail and can stand up on his high chair, girn and say "sit down on botton!" and proceed to defy me! I am so proud of his walking, even though he still looks like a robot left out in the rain too long! I know there are kids faster and more agile than him, but I don't care.
And you know what, I want to hear about your children too. I love to see the pictures on the fridge, the little things they have made, the toys they love. I love the first conversations, finding out what has captured their imagination, what they remember. I love to hear what is important to them. Kids live in the here and now and its exciting.
So please, if I rave about my son, don't take offence. Rave about yours too! Childhood is too short, and too short for competition.