Sunday, July 27, 2008

No Longer Gunning For Last Place

I belong to a few mommy mailing lists. I can't quite bring myself to meet up with any of them in person, though. There's this competitive streak that runs through a lot of the stay-at-home moms, and it's hard for me to cope with.

For one thing, I can't compete in the Gracious Hostess category. I'm working at home, and not only can I not whip up cheesecake from scratch because of conference calls and deadlines, but I haven't even finished unpacking. From a move in March.

The Endurance division is also a killer. I adore Pick Your Own fruit and vegetable farms, I love nature walks, and trips to the zoo make my heart sing. But the schedules posted by these groups call for spending four hours or more per activity! Working at home makes these outings impossible for me, but even if I was as free as a bird, I wouldn't go. Four HOURS? If you pick fruit for four hours, you're not an agritourist, you're a migrant laborer.

But those are pretty minor issues, really. The real stumbling block is that in the Competitive Motherhood race, I'm still sitting in the starting gate.

Oh, sure, I huddle in the corner of the internet with my friends muttering things like "all babies have their own timetables" and "he'll be able to roll over before school starts." Also, Lah and Rainy, both experienced mothers, assure me that the one list I belong to is filled with lying liars who lie. After all, the women on the list have five month old babies are standing, getting ready to walk. Their two month old babies are rolling over with wild abandon. Their seven month old babies have twenty word vocabularies, and their two week old babies smile and laugh. Their three month olds have multiple teeth that chew a variety of organic foods. (Note to my fellow first timers - whiles some of that is possible, it is all unlikely, especially if reported for a majority of babies in a small group.)

My son (24 weeks old) apparently exists entirely to make the other mothers on this list glad that at least their baby is not in last place. He smiled at six weeks, and laughed at three months. He is fascinated by books, and squeals when several favorites appear, but since we have been reading to him every night for 22 weeks now, it's less literary genius and more habit. He is not yet imitating the sounds we make. He "sits" and "stands" with his hands clutching ours for dear life. He is not interested in solid food, and he has no teeth yet.

But yesterday, he rolled over from back to front. And then a few hours later, he looked at his daddy and distinctly made the sign for milk. When I came running in response to the triumphant paternal bellow, I thought perhaps the daddy was crazy, because the baby wasn't making his little hungry fish face, he wasn't fussing, and he'd just eaten two hours before. But then he made the sign again, and when I offered him milk, he dove on it like a piranha and sighed a peaceful sigh.

The boy's clearly Ivy League material.


Lahdeedah said...

I've created my own little world.

I tell people I kept the boys out of pre-school all these long years, and waited for Pre-K, because of my personal philosophy that pre-school dampers the natural learning abilities of children, who do much better learning by playing in dirt...

Hey. It's a solid theory.

Wire said...

I feel like other moms are just looking for something to compete over. "Is she walking yet?" And then smug satisfaction and a condescending "Everyone grows a their own pace." And then when she did start walking (apparently pretty early) and another mom asked me and I said "Why yes she is!" this other mom actually looked dejected. Clearly she just lost the competition. I wanted to console her but she probably would have thought I was being condescending. Arg. Can't we all just get along?