My kid is more cleverer than your kid - competitive mums

Posted Tuesday 31st July 2012   By Ericka Waller

At playgroup today I was sat next to two mums having a conversation. It went like this

"Well, my daughter can already read her sister's BLUE STICKER books, and she has not even started reception class yet! I worry so much she will have nothing to learn when she goes."

"Hmm, maybe you need to speak to the school about it, get her some special EXTRA HARD books."

"Good idea. I will take it to the top, speak to the education board."

I am not sure what a "blue sticker" book is. James Joyce's Ulysses maybe?

I look across the hall to see what my three children are up to.

Four is covering her face with stickers.

Twenty-three months has taken all her clothes off, put some other kid's shoes on and is hitting herself over the head with a rattle.

Seven months is gnawing away on my foot (teething, I hope).

I don't feel too worried about the blue sticker book. I just have stuff like sleepless nights, mountains of washing and Ribena stains on the carpet to fill my airy head.

OK, so that's not true. I do worry about my children's PIES (physical, intellectual, emotional and social development. You like that eh? Sounds like something out a BLUE STICKER book maybe?!).

I worry that four is not as good on her scooter as her friends. Is it because she is short for her age?

I worry about her nail biting.

I worry about the fact she only eats food which is all one colour and texture.

I worry that she has juice at nighttime which is sugary and that is after she has brushed her teeth.

I worry that twenty-three months is still on a very limited vocab.

I worry about how much she relies on her charlie cloth for comfort. Am I not giving her enough?

I worry that I am being lazy weaning seven months on tinned food (organic I promise) but I don't have the time to make her stuff from scratch and I worry so much about her chocking on a lump.

So yeah, I worry. I worry all day long. all the time and when I finally go to sleep my worries take over my dreams and I wake up sweating and reaching for my to-do list, or to-worry-about list as it should be called.

And on the flip side of all that worry, of course I think my kids are the most extraordinarily clever most marvellous kids on the planet. Putting stickers on your face. Do you have any idea how much hand-eye coordination that takes? And twenty-two months had the right shoe on the right foot. GENIUSES my kids.

But I don't like to brag. Because all it ever does is start up a giant wasps nest of waspy bragging from waspy bragging mums and it never ends.

"Oh, is twenty-two months potty training yet?"

Well she did a poo in her bedroom then tried to carry it to the loo, does that count?

And no four can't use the ipad all on her own, but she is great at making dens out of the sofa cushions. Seven months does not sleep through the night no, but she looks very pretty in purple.

I mean, it's all a load of twaddle isn't it? Who cares who does what when?

It's pretty unlikely that my kids are going to CRAWL into job interviews wearing pull up pants and pointing to a badge that reads "My mummy says I am special" are they?

I mean, at some point - without putting too much pressure on my kids, I'm hoping they will be able to read and write and maybe count up to twenty or so (Ideally before they are twenty.)

The main thing is that they are happy and healthy and safe.

These are not the years for me to worry about. All three of my brood are fast asleep in their beds as I type this. I can see their faces, watch the steady rise and fall of their tiny chests. I can see the baby dreams they are chasing. All the doors are locked and they can't reach the keys.

It's when they can read, and text, and sneak out the house in short skirts to meet boys that I will worry.

Until then, so what if they can't read Keats poems yet, or tinkle on a potty when told like some kind of Pavlov's dog, I'd still far rather sit shaking rattles and doing sticker books with them, than be part of a "my kid is more cleverer than your kid" contest anyday.