Keeping Score

Posted by: Editor in Untagged  on

A scene on The Real Housewives of Orange County (yes, we admit we watch The Housewives) played out with two of the women sparring, for lack of a better, word over the abilities of their not yet three year old children. One child drew the best squigglies of anyone in her class, another was the best listener, another could count to seven in Spanish, and yet another of these overachieving children was potty trained almost instantaneously. Watching the scene unfold, we were struck by the ludicrousness of the situation, while simultaneously wincing at the memories of our own "my child can top yours" competitions. If you don't have at least one of those memories, stop reading right now. You're either not being honest or you don't actually have any children and have stumbled onto the wrong site. In any case, this reminded us of advice given by one of our much wiser friends who said, "Make sure you don't get caught up in the parenting arms race." At the time we were oblivious to what she meant. We certainly weren't the competitive types and we loved our babies for who they were. As time went on, however, even the most mild mannered individual can get caught up if not careful. Well-meaning friends innocently asking if one's child is reading yet can spark everything from worry if she's not to smugness if he is, sometimes escalating in all out warfare for those with children in between. Warfare which can result in a child's room becoming home to more books than the local library in less than 48 hours,  or an intervention by said child because every waking moment is dedicated only to reading. A bit extreme, yes. And a slight exaggeration on our part. Yet we've had times where we wanted to "make sure" our child measured up, followed by tears when we gave in to some standard that said he didn't. We've watched in silent disbelief as a fellow parent of a 6 year old discreetly wrote down bowling scores and put them in her purse for validation her child was winning.  What is he (or she, because that's who it's veritably about) really winning and where is the score kept? We don't know. Because like any arms race, there are always more casualties than winners.  

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