Wednesday, September 12, 2012


I sort of teased the other day that I would write a "Your kids aren't that smart" post...and rather than be known as a tease, I figured I should write it. I can't be known as a tease:-)

There is an unadvertised benefit of having helps to keep you from obsessing over development. From the time a woman gets pregnant, there is a mountain of literature (most of it not worth reading) that tells you exactly how you should be growing and feeling and then how the kid should be growing and developing.

The problem being, of course, that children don't develop according to a set schedule. And more who do one thing or another behind schedule are not doing so because their parents have failed. The corollary to that, of course, is that you are not a morally superior parent because your baby can hold his head up a week before the books say he should be able to.

Honestly, it would be very hard for me to make an assessment of which of the girls is developing faster. LK walked first, got teeth first, slept through the night first, used the potty first and is generally better at it. MA ate solids first, grew faster, stood up first, sleeps better and communicates better.

Just to site two examples...MA learned to talk a year ago and hasn't stopped since. She yabbers all day long, makes whole sentences, asks questions and verbalizes her feelings really clearly. Verbally, she is far ahead of what would be considered normal development. But she still gets frustrated and occasionally hits or bites.

LK, on the other hand, doesn't talk nearly as much. She can, and her vocabulary is close to her sisters, but she doesn't enunciate nearly as well, and doesn't form the same kinds of multi-phrase thoughts that MA does. But, put a puzzle in front of her, and suddenly she becomes a genius. She has a couple of 20-24 piece wooden puzzles that she can take apart and put together without any help. Her sister? She talks a good game..."Momma, this one goes here?"...but basically she just shoves any two random pieces together without paying much attention to the picture.

So who is smarter? Beats is pretty clear that their brains work in very different ways...but they are both working. And, to take this a step further...MA is not a better speaker and LK a better puzzle maker because of the superior parenting she has received;-)

Parents love to take credit for their kids; development, and they really love to overstate their kids' development;-) Because there are million ways to measure development, and just about every kid will be ahead of the curve on some and behind the curve on others. It is much to easy to note the one thing he or she does really well, and then use that as a justification of your parenting skills.

And really, I get it...bragging about our kids is fun. I am not at all above it. Seeing them develop is an affirmation that we haven't broken them. Christ, at least 40% of this blog is unabashed bragging of a kid who isn't really even my kid!!!

But it still drives me a little crazy (and frankly, I kind of live in a place where the parenting competition is heavier than most). If I were more passive aggressive, I may well have said some things over the past two years like "Wow, I think I read where knowing colors by 12 months has a really high correlation to your likelihood of being on the Supreme Court"...

A guy that I work with showed me a hilarious Facebook post earlier this week because he knows I appreciate these things. A girl he had gone to High School with, in a blatant attempt to fish for compliments, had posted "Wow, is it normal for a 17 month old to know the alphabet and count to 12?" What she was really saying was "Please, everyone tell me that my kid is special, and that we are doing a great job raising him!"

Instead, the comments were largely stuff like "Yea, that is about right," and "That seems pretty normal...I think my kids were about that age." {Never mind that 17 months is probably a little early to be doing that stuff;-)}

Also, he showed me no fewer than six people in his circle of friends who had entered their kid in the Gerber Cutest Baby contest...because, you know, every one of their kids is absolutely adorable. I have no idea what my point is. Certainly, I have no interest in people loving their kids less or thinking them less special. And by all means, you are welcome to find your own kids to be the cutest ones in the class...I know I do:-).

But maybe it doesn't hurt to remember that, when judged by others, exactly one half of kids are dumber than average, and one half are uglier.

And now, I am going to hell:-)

{Update: Big Sis read this right after I posted it, and her response is "That is so true, which is why I find it so amazing that all of our kids are so incredibly smart and cute!"}


Lori S-C said...

thanks for the chuckles....

Lori S-C said...

love these comments....seems like you've got two very different little girls... good for them and good for you too! and their development sounds just perfect!

Ally said...

This is a fantastic post, and the Facebook status is hilarious. I would have been tempted to write "Well my son has only mastered that in Spanish, so I'm not sure...." to give the poster a complex about raising a child who isn't bilingual. About the only time I think about "proper" development is when I go to the doctor, and she asks me various things.

I totally see how twins give you a great perspective on this :) And btw, Jackson pulled himself up and stood this week and was so excited he screamed (happy screams) for 5 minutes. SO FUN!

Ys said...

Haha great post! My husband works with a guy who brags about everything his children do, to the point where he lies and then trips up over the lie. Why bother? Don't get me wrong, I think my boy is amazing and clearly he is the most adorable baby there ever was, but I don't feel the need to brag about his achievements. I think it helps I have no other friends with children so there's none of that competition ;)

cindy said...

Now I'm wondering whether my posts to record the stuff that my kid did (I've a compulsive historian since I was a child) may come across as bragging. I keep thinking that one day, Allie would ask, "Mom, what was my first word? When was that?" and I'd want to have a reference. I've seen Mr. W's kids ask him stuff like that. "When did I start walking?" His answer is usually, "I dunno. I don't remember." And they look a little disappointed. It's also neat to know things about a kid's parents from their grandparents, such as when people comment about how at nearly 10 months, Allie still has little more than peach fuzz on her head and newborns have more hair than she does, Mr. W's mom had said, "None of my boys had their hair come in until they were over a year old." (Cuz now I know whose genes to blame, ha.)

From what I've read in those books you don't like (heh), kids have a huuuge variety of skillsets available to them at different times, and the kid him/herself chooses, based on his/her personality, what to work on from each skillset. It is not a sign of intelligence; it's a sign of personal interest. Allie is really into motor skills. She stood early, showed interest in walking early, blah blah. Her cousin is an observer. She pays intense attention to the adults and watches interactions, body language, conversations, while Allie's trying to struggle off my lap to go exploring. They're different people, and they accordingly have different priorities.

Sounds like your twins are perfect examples of that. :)

Accidentally Me said...

Cindy, there is nothing wrong with taking notes! I have done tons of that, and I feel like it would be sort of weird not to:-)

But, if you ever find yourself getting ready to write a gushing post about how Allie knows 20 words, while the books say she should only know 10...well, maybe you should warn me:-)

cindy said...

...and how it's all my perfect parenting because those infant flash cards really work? =D