At the birthday party of a ten year old girl, a group of mothers looked on anxiously while talking about their children. While the little girls danced to Taylor Swift and compared their collection of silly bands, the mothers were deep in discussion.
“How long did you breastfeed for? Was it exclusive or did you supplement with a bottle?” asked one mother.
“Was she dry at night by two, or just dry during the day? We moved to pull-ups by eighteen months” said another.
“Did she have a sippy cup or did she go straight from breast to a cup?”
It sounds unbelievable doesn’t it?
That’s because it is.
It never happened.
By the time your child is ten, your nipples will be safely tucked away inside your bra. If you were to pull them out at the local coffee shop it’s possible you may be arrested. There will have been 964 new experts in children’s sleeping patterns, and you will groan and change the channel each time they pop up on the telly to promote their new book. The aisle in the supermarket with the wet wipes and the boxes of Huggies will be a complete mystery to you.
Children will win awards at school and no-one will say “I hear she was the first in her baby group to use a straw”. No-one looks at a child and says “I really like the way they walk, I bet they walked by ten months, they look like they’ve been doing it longer than everyone else.”
The game of my child is going to turn out better than your child has ended, because everyone has realized it’s irrelevant. The baby that could point to the blue blocks and stack the hoops faster than anyone else is now failing Language Arts but blitzing in Geometry. Parents have learned that each week there will be another hurdle, maybe it will be social, perhaps it will be scholastic, we all pray it won’t be medical.
Your challenges this week may involve not making the basketball squad or falling out with a best friend. You will try and stay calm while you work on fractions, listen intently to the project on sharks, and be genuinely interested while you are given the task of quizzing the religious definitions of certain aspects of Judaism. You may find yourself wiping away the tears at the orthodontist (both yours and hers), and then bursting with pride over the courage displayed while being vaccinated, again, both yours and hers.