Monday, March 23, 2009

Proud and Boastful are NOT the Same Thing

One of greatest challenges of being a mother is competition. Parents competing for whose child is smarter, more social, more agile, or even more of a challenge. This competition can come from friends but it can also come from absolute strangers.

For one of our weekend adventures, our family decide to visit a different branch of the Durham Public Libraries. We typically visit the main branch as it is both the closest and the best stocked. I mean this place has three stories of books. We love it. However, we have checked out the entire collection of board books from there at least twice over. We need a new supply. That's how we found ourselves over at the newest branch just off of Highway 98.

Walking in was just like a dream. The doors opened automatically; everything was so shiny and fresh; and they had lots of not yet masticated board books. It was perfect.

Perfect that is until another parent came over to browse. She plopped her daughter, who appeared to be of similar age to Linus, down on the floor and they started browsing books. I couldn't help but admire her for helping her daughter take an early interest in reading. The first grade teacher in me wanted to beam at them.

Browsing through the books, I couldn't help but overhear their conversation as it seemed to be, if not directed at me, than intended for me. It was a conversation that was a bit louder than needed for just the pair, and obviously meant to be overheard. It went something like this:

Mom: "Honey, what's this a picture of?"
The toddler girl replied with some form of toddler babble that seemed unintelligible to me, however I'm sure her mother understood her.
Mom: "You're right that's a ball. What's this a picture of?"
Again the little girl responded with some babble.
Mom: "Oh sweetie, you want to tell me in French, ok."

At this moment I think to myself, 'Wow! Lucky her to be growing up bilingual."

The mother than continues with her little girl going back and forth like this. I'm still unable to actually comprehend any of what the toddler is saying, maybe she was actually giving German a whirl today.

After a bit, Linus who was over playing puzzles with his daddy approaches. He addresses me in his usual, "Dah-boom," which I know refers to me but wouldn't expect anyone else to. Linus then points to a book or something on a book and issues his usual, "Dat."

The mother then directly addresses me, "Is that his word for book?" To which Adrian, having just walked up responds, "No, that's his word for everything."

The mother looks a bit taken back. Linus wanders off again but the little girl wants to follow him. Her mother tells her to be careful because, "...he's a bit younger than you." She turns to me and asks, "How old is he?"

I inform her that he is 20 months old and she again looks aghast. She tells me, "Oh, I thought he was younger. She's only 17 months old."

Now, I know that nothing has been explicitly said at this point in time. All of this competitive feeling is simply a feeling. My own insecurities could be taking hold so I remind myself that I could be misconstruing all of this and that it is not meant to be anything of a competitive parenting nature.

However, all my positive thoughts vanish a few minutes later when the little girl selects a book off the shelf to read. Her mother glances at it, takes it from her daughter, and places it back on the shelf saying, "Oh honey, that book is too easy. You already know all those words."

I'll admit, I may be overreacting a bit. I may be a touch defensive of my son's slow to develop verbal language skills. However, this just felt a bit too braggy for my tastes. What do you think?

I know part of being a parent is the strong desire to shout from the rooftops every little development or growth our children make. (I have a blog about my son for goodness sakes.) However, maybe we all just need to remember to do our shouting from our own rooftops and maybe the grandparents' rooftops because you never know whose challenges you might just be digging at.


Midwest Mom said...

Oh. My. Goodness.

I would have had a hard time not teaching Linus to say "Smackdown".

- Julia

Jo from Dixie said...

I can't believe the nerve of her! To your credit, you are doing an amazing job at teaching Linus all he needs to know. Children all learn at different stages. I used to compare my kids and quickly realized I was doing them an injustice. They are all very different little people and will learn what they need to learn in their own timing. I truly believe it's God's way of telling us slow down and enjoy life through their sweet, innocent eyes. Take a'll all be okay. And, I bet you never encounter this woman again. At least, for her sake, I hope not. You did a very good job at holding your tongue. I'm proud of you (not boastful...LOL).

Susan said...

That woman has some issues of some sort! Did she do the "superior dance" there amongst the books? Did you ask her for some Grey Poupon? LOL!


Anonymous said...

Just party hopping and stopping in to say hi. I am participating too so stop in for a visit.

CSO said...

That mom has issues. Years from now, her daughter will probably wish she had a cool mom like you. And yes, I know that was catty, but that kind of stuff makes me want to smack people.

Lesa said...

Stopping by from the UBP. Love your background layout.

Marty, a.k.a. canape said...

Okay, first of all, I have to say that it is impossible to read this post and then just comment that you are blog partying on by for a visit. Dude. Read the post, don't just comment for commenting's sake. That's so lame. Of course, anyone who is doing that isn't going to read this comment either. So whatever.

Anyway - I am beyond indignant. So YAY. She has imagined that her daughter has amazing verbal skills. Good for her. What a bitchy way to share her pride.

The sad part is that she was probably looking for a friend. Someone with issues as big as that is probably pretty lonely and was poking around for a mom friend. Who wouldn't want to be friends with a mom like her whose cute daughter is multi lingual in toddler babble?

@sweetbabboo said...


I think they're just mad that I'm forcing them to read a post instead of just being able to comment on my UBP sticky post. I debated doing it a different way but will honestly be satisfied if I get only one new regular reader. Those people leaving calling cards are just drumming up business. It's gonna take more than that to make me a regular reader. As Mom101 says, "content is king," and without it, I won't be back no matter how many times you party hop over to my place.

nikki said...

Okay, that is super obnoxious.

One of the reasons I blog is to remember my daughter's early life, and the developmental stuff is included, because I know our friends and family who read the blog actually care about that. But I know my blog audience, and it is honestly very small - it really IS made up primarily of people who know us and want to hear about the little things like that.

But I'm always kind of taken aback when other mothers brag to me about their kids in real life. It's such a weird conversation-stopper. I think most of them don't entirely realize they're doing it; sometimes they act as if they are looking for sympathy, even, because Junior is "ALREADY walking" (with a dramatic sigh) and "now he's so hard to keep UP WITH."

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Girls develop verbal skills much more quickly than boys--it's a fact, jack. They potty train faster too. BUT! Boys don't whine to the same degree as girls so it all is good! I promise!