After Brandon’s blog post about 2nd grade, I thought I’d dumb things down a little with a statement that not enough people seem to understand.
Your child is not as smart as you think they are.
Now let me preface this by saying I love children, and for the most part, they love me. Maybe it’s because of my creativity and imagination for playing, or the silly responses I give their questions. Maybe it’s my genuine friendliness that I try to convey with everyone. Or maybe it’s because I can still turn a refrigerator box into a race car with the best of ‘em. But I do love them, and I look forward to one day having my own 2.5 children (per US population).
I also look forward to 18 years of vile bodily fluids, stupid questions, and poor life decisions. I know I gave my parents plenty of each.
What I don’t understand, though, is the celebration of mediocrity that's become so commonplace with parenting. I’ve had to experience this lately with relatives, and you know you’ve seen the same thing a million times before, too: “Oh, look what little _____ did today. Isn’t he so smart for his age?”
Ask ANY parent, and they’ll tell you their child is smart for his age. He can walk. He can figure out how to get into a cupboard. He can shit himself and roll in it. Isn’t he so smart for his age? Yes, he’s a goddamned genius. Can I leave now? This house smells like baby shit and feet.
You should be proud of your child. I truly mean it; you should celebrate their achievements. But I’m continually amazed at how much we laud our children as being ‘ahead of the rest’ for really just being on par with the rest. A 2 year old child learning a few words isn’t the act of Einstein’s reincarnation, it’s nature’s way of telling you, congratulations, your child is not autistic. We applaud a child for being curious and getting into the cabinets, but that’s just a part of being a kid, is being curious and getting into shit. What’s more, which child is smarter? The one that gets into the cabinet, drinks the Drano, and kills himself, or the stupid child that can’t figure out how to open either? The smartest don’t always survive. Chew on that, Darwin.
I find it amusing when parents commemorate bathroom functions as being exceptional. We celebrate if an age appropriate child can pee in a toilet and deem them tiny geniuses, but I assure you, this is nothing special. I peed in a toilet 4 times last night (I was drinking) and even had about a 95% accuracy rate (I was drinking). Do I get a cookie?
What you never hear about are the stupid children.
“This is my Timmy. He still can’t figure out that the square peg goes in the round hole and he always falls off of his tricycle. He’s kinda dumb for his age, don’t you think?”
“My Jenny’s not very bright. She’s still pissing herself and looks at the toilet like it's an alien lifeform. She’s a really slow learner, don't you think?”
“Yeah, this is my Billy. He’s 24 months old and only knows a handful of words, most of which are swear words he picked up from daddy. He can't tell me what he wants, he just cries all the time. Isn't he stupid for his age?"
Again, I like kids, and I’m looking forward to raising mine and applauding mine for their accomplishments and achievements, but I just wonder, having nothing more than 4 dogs and a cat right now, will I disregard this and be the same naive way? Will you hear me addle on and on about how smart Bryan Jr. is because he can spoon food into his mouth without spilling most of it or stabbing himself? Will I too boast about my child's mediocrities?
I hope not. I hope I’m a fair, modest, and earnest parent who celebrates achievements when they’re appropriate. I hope I can be both celebratory and realistic. But that’s so far away, I can’t really say one way or another.
So on that note, I'm out. I really want to figure out how to open this tasty looking Drano that I think might be really colorful fruit punch, and I think I just soiled myself again. (I’m kinda stupid for my age, and my parents are 99% certain I have a learning disability)
Mood: Painfully optimistic
Beer: Fat Tire
Shower: Uncomfortably cold
PS After Brandon's last post with the tag 'Dumbfuckery,' I must admit I feel compelled to label all future posts with 'Dumbfuckery.'