Thursday, 31 January 2008

The Kid's Got Talent

Help me: I have turned into one of those dreadful people you meet at the school gates who tell lies about their children to make them sound more impressive.

I don't know how it happened. I mean, I'll admit (just the once, here and now) that I think my children are far superior to anyone else's. Including yours, though I'm sure yours are nice, too. Of course they have their faults (The Girl has a tendency to tell me how old I am all the time, while The Boy requires my company frequently during the night) but basically they rock. However, I always meant to keep this to myself, and let them do their thing without having one of those awful pushy parents glaring at them, urging them on. And I have certainly never been tempted to tell lies about their abilities. Even when people have gasped in horror at my lack of parenting skills as I recount how many times the baby wakes or how long my daughter took to potty train, I have been proud to tell the truth (and then bitch about those gaspers and stick metaphorical pins in metaphorical Voodoo dolls of them).

But today outside nursery, waiting to collect The Girl, I lied.
'Wow, he's a big boy now,' said one mum, as I slung The Boy onto my hip. 'Is he walking yet?'
The way she said 'walking YET' - her tone and the very slight arch in her eyebrow - did something strange to me, and I found myself saying:
'Yes. Well, he's taking 4 or 5 steps at a time and then falling on his arse, hahaha.'

At that point the doors opened and we went our separate ways, and as The Girl ran into my arms and The Boy did his rapid leg-wiggle that makes it feel like I'm holding an excitable labrador, I felt the deep, deep shame of knowing that I'd exaggerated by TWO steps.

What the hell was the point of that? Two steps?? I mean why didn't I just lie properly and say that he's already in training for Olympic Speed-Walking? And while I'm at it, why don't I enter him for a beautiful baby competition or this - apparently they now have a 0-36 months category: parents are given 1 minute to show judges that their baby is the cutest and has the best personality

Ludicrous! Not to mention hugely scarring for the 3 year old who is told they have only come second in the contest, having lost out to the huge personality of the 2 week-old whose current party trick is opening its eyes, and closing its eyes.

It's ironic, this newly discovered trait of mine, seeing as the last novel I wrote was about pushy parents.

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