Disclaimer: This post is only for mothers whose children are geniuses.
Flying Solo with Two Carry-ons: So now that I have the attention of EVERY mother out there, I will begin by telling you that I get it. Every parent thinks their kid is a genius. Your kid says "Mama" ... genius. Poops in the toilet ... genius. Shoves a pea up his nose ... okay well, maybe not the smartest genius, but nevertheless, a genius. Yet despite knowing that every parent thinks their child is Harvard-bound and will surely one day become president, I was still shocked by the things I saw and heard during my daughter's first year in preschool.
As if it wasn't bad enough to hear moms brag about their little Einsteins to everyone they met, I would see them drilling and grilling their preschoolers, trying to prove their kid is smarter than all the others. One morning, I witnessed a mom quizzing her daughter with flash cards, while another was sitting on the bench across the way showing off her 3-year-old daughter's reading ability. That was just the beginning. One mom even confessed to me that her son would cry at night because she made him write his name five times before going to bed. And two of my friends were in competition trying to one-up each other by seeing whose son could count higher.
Soon I began thinking that I failed my daughter. She couldn't count to 200, and she couldn't write her name. Did I make a mistake by naming her Gabriella? (Note to self: next time, name her Ava. She'll only need to learn two letters, and if she spells it backwards, she'll still get it right.)
As the days and months went on, I found myself drawn to the dark side. I finally succumbed under the pressure to prove that my child is a genius. Sadly, I became obsessed. I actually went online and found a kindergarten readiness test and tested her.
I gave her a three-step direction: pick up the green crayon, walk to the kitchen table, and place it underneath the table. I had her organize things in groups of color, shapes, and sizes. I even gave her the ol' apple or coin test used in the Middle Ages (you think I'm kidding? Go look it up). Oh, and by the way ... she chose the coin. So if we were living in the Middle Ages, off to school she would go. Needless to say, my daughter passed everything I gave her with flying colors. So I was confident that she could successfully enter kindergarten at the age of three.
The next day, I walked onto the play yard with my head held high. That's when my friend, who has an older daughter, asked me if my daughter could swing herself on the swing. Really? Are you kidding me? Apparently, that too is a prerequisite. Oy! What are they doing to me?! I completely started freaking out because my daughter wasn't able to pump her legs on the swing. She told me not to worry, and reassured me that by the time kindergarten rolls around, all kids can pump their legs. Phew! What a relief!
Most of you -- not you overachiever mom types -- but the rest of you will be happy to know that after that day, I gave up my quest to prove my child is a genius. I am totally over it. I don't care if she goes to Harvard, and I don't care if she doesn't become president. I just want her to be a happy, loving, and self-confident child.
This past September, my daughter did in fact start kindergarten, and she can pump her legs on the swing, just like the rest of her classmates. And in case you have any doubts, my kid IS smarter than your kid ... even though she was the kid that shoved peas up her nose.