I came across this somehow the other day and while I am not usually one to post in other people’s writing on my own blog, this just cracked me up and I HAD to put it on here. I wish I had written it.
Your child’s gifted, you say? That’s nice, my kid has nits
April 8, 2009
CAN anyone tell me when parenting became a competitive sport? “I got pregnant straight away and my daughter’s been sleeping through the night since she was four weeks old, her favorite foods are sushi, hummus and olives, she’s been toilet trained since she was one and she taught herself how to read before she was three. My name’s Fiona, nice to meet you.”
Let me guess? Malvern?
Here’s what we’re all thinking: “Shut up. Or at least can we get back to the riveting issues you’ve been having with your builder/irritable bowel syndrome/uptight sister-in-law?” What do you expect me to say? “Congratulations, you won but I wasn’t aware it was a competition so I don’t have a trophy for you. Feel free to crack open an icy cold can of get-over-yourself to celebrate.”
Our kids only watch the ABC. Well, our kids only watch documentaries. Well, we don’t have a TV. Well, our kids only play musical instruments. Well, our kids only play instruments made from organic wood. Well, our kids only play traditional indigenous music on bits of recycled bark. Who cares? A hundred bucks says they’ll all change their names from Tarquin to Steve and end up working in the public service.
Just so you know, we all think you’re a fabulously desperate creatively barren try-hard when you bang on about the famous artists/musicians/actor/writers who are parents at your school. Love this. “So what’s your kid’s school like?” “Oh it’s fabulous. Nick Cave sends his kids there.” WHAT? When you wear the cred of the parents who send their kids to the same school as your kids, it’s time to, how do I put this, get a life. As soon as possible.
If you’re thrilled and smug that your seven-year-old has “at least four parties every weekend”, it tells us you have no friends, no social life, have no chance of ever being cool and you are living out your social inadequacy through your children. Smell that? That’s ego confusion.
And what’s with all the after-school and weekend activities? Interpretive dance, judo, squash, art appreciation … “Oh yes, I know the mum, our kids are in the same violin masterclass.” The kids are four years old. True story. Don’t take your low self-esteem and disappointment about never having had origami lessons out on your kid. Wish you were an actor/dancer/diver? Take the lessons yourself and stop forcing them on your kids. The best gift a parent can give? Boredom.
I heard about this madwoman – let’s file her under “every mothers’ group has one”. When the babies were trying “tummy time”, the mad woman’s daughter used to go into a hysterical fit the minute she was put on the mat. On the second week of this happening, the madwoman said: “Hubby and I are both high achievers, and we think she doesn’t like it because she’s not good at it.” The baby was nine weeks old.
And don’t those “I was a loser at school trying to correct it by hot-housing my kids” parents love the awards? No matter how trivial. I know a bloke who was convinced there was going to be an international incident if their son was not awarded the coveted “You Can Do It” ribbon.
Sporting prowess is big too – the bragging always delivered via the hide-the-pill-in-the-dog method by telling you what a good sport Dan/Jack/Ben is because it’s unseemly to brag about winning, so they have to be the best natured as well (and they’re not).
And isn’t every kid gifted? “We’ve had Felicity independently assessed and she’s gifted.” “Really? That’s nice. My kids have nits.” Here’s a tip for you. If your kid’s gifted, ram it. We don’t care. Actually, we’re happier for you if your kid is in the special needs class. It’s called schadenfreude. Makes us feel better about ourselves. “So Tommy’s got an IQ of room temperature, he can’t dress himself, wears nappies to bed and he’s eight. Ah, bless.” YES! My kids have just eaten their way up the food chain one notch.
And if someone tells me their kids have “never had nits”, I think to myself “so that’s how they look when they lie”. Then I say, “That’d be because nits only go to clean hair.”
Here’s another from the Ego Confusion Identification Index. “Your kids are lovely.” “Thank-you.” What? “Sorry – Fiona was it? I am not talking about you, I am talking about your children.” The correct response is “I’ll tell them”, or, if you’re me: “Really? I’m thinking of voting one of them off and cannibalising the other two to make one really good one.”
Catherine Deveny is appearing in Mother of the Year throughout April, as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival