Tuesday, September 9, 2008

If You're Happy And You Know It...


Today Maddy and Sarah played chess while Grace and Laura and I played. It was a good division of labor, since my ability to plan ahead has been reduced to about two moves.
Madeleine played a 14-year-old boy, a really smart boy, and she judges that he'll be a good chess challenge for at least week or two. Not a competitive bone in her body, I tell you.
In the meantime, Laura finally learned to clap! That would be so great, but did you know that chess match audiences are a little like golf spectators? Yeah. The required silent, respectful clapping is a little out of Laura's repertoire. She's of the squeal-and-clap club. I'm pretty sure that when she starts writing, she'll enjoy using multiple exclamation points. That's how excitable she is.
Sarah enjoyed chess today as well. She learned a new "strategy," she informs us, but will not elaborate further. (No inkling of the competitive streak in her either.)
And not that I'm keeping score, but a lot of these homeschool parents are competitive. I think it's fun to hear about everyone's accomplishments. I think every kid I met today is pretty spectacular. I think your kids are wonderful too. And you don't know me, but please believe me: I am not interested in the one-upmomship.
Do you know of what I speak? Some of the other baby siblings I met were reaching different milestones at different times than their mothers or neighbors thought they ought. One 12-month-old wasn't walking yet (gasp). One toddler refused to self-feed but could take apart an alarm clock and put it back together. A vast majority of the homeschool students I met were introduced by their name, quickly followed by a recitation of their grade level in each and every subject.
How would we feel if our spouses or friends introduced us like this:
"Bob! I want you to meet Maryann. She's really good at bookkeeping but a little behind in telephone skills. I've never met anyone who could photocopy as well as she does, but we've really got to get to work on her spreadsheets."
I just want to say, for crying out loud, don't let me go there with the half-apology, half-bragging thing. And don't get me wrong: I LOVE to hear about kids and their amazing quirks and differences. I LOVE to know what your kids (and anyone else's, honestly) are up to these days. I just don't want to feel like it's a big competition.
Did I just drop out of Pluto?
Anyone else?

6 comments:

Grumpy Momma said...

I'm not very close with too many other moms in real life, so I haven't really run into the one upmomship that much. Since my son was a little bit developmentally delayed, when I met other moms, I would often ask about certain things their kids could do - I was very inexperienced and wasn't sure exactly where he should be.

I really liked your adult analogy - made me giggle cause its so true.

Good luck with the homeschooling - sounds like you're really looking forward to it.

Toni said...

I am so noncompetitive, especially with baby milestones. Good grief, none of my kids took their first step or had their first tooth until their first birthday. They also didn't talk until three, but now I can't get them to SHADDUP! And I mean that in the most loving, motherly way.

My husband is always wanting to play Risk or Backgammon because he can totally stomp in those games. And I'm usually trying to get him to do a jigsaw puzzle with me while we "communicate". Yeah, it's that whole Venus and Mars thing.

Agent K said...

Thank you. So. Much.

Now I have the "If you're happy" song stuck in my head. I had to re-read your post twice because I was so distracted by the dang song.

I could totally take you out with my skillz at If you're happy...!

Amydeanne said...

awww what a cutie (and i haven't been able to get out of that song for the past 6 years!)

Alexis - Chickie Momma said...

Oh yeah, well my chickens are better than your chickens. Hahaha! People compete even in that category, can you believe that?! I have a neighbor who homeschools (and has better chickens than me), and she's always letting me know what things my kids should be doing at their ages, but it mostly involves NOT socializing with other kids so he won't get any bad habits *sigh* Strange, now she's begging me to take her son to youth group with my daughter. Huh?? Ok, sure!! :)

HonuGirl said...

You're an awesome Mom, Miriam!! =)
I agree. Although I like a little braggin' it's not about competing -- just love talking about my boys. But now they won't sing "If you're happy..." anymore - apparently it's lame HMMMPH!! (thanks - now it's stuck 4me 2!!)