We have a video taken at Maya’s 2nd Birthday party. We invited 3 kids she played with at the time, and the mothers, and a couple of my friends. It’s very cute to watch the kids, but whenever I see it I have to press the mute button. Why? Because in the video, I never shut up! I just want to scream at myself, “God woman, stop telling everyone all the things your child knows!” But there I am, going on and on about how Maya’s into numbers now, and can spell this or that. Ugh. It’s truly nauseating. (And I’m wearing red jean capri’s. I ask you.)
Cut to this afternoon at Barnes & Noble, (not our Barnes & Noble, which very, very sadly closed its’ doors for good today) and the children’s book section. Ben and I had dropped Maya off at a friends and decided to stop in and get him a new book. The place was packed with parents and their children; mostly the 5 and under set, and I was struck by how many of them sounded like I did on that horrid video from when Maya was 2. The kids are scrambling toward the games or the stuffed animals, while the parents are pulling out the DK Encyclopedia and the books on historic figures (Einstein as a Child, anyone?) and then telling their totally uninterested children how much they are going to love this book! “Why look, it tells all about the beginning of our numeric system? Isn’t that exciting?!” Parents somewhat desperately looking for ‘teachable moments’ and kids very desperately looking for the exit.
Hey, I get it. I’ve been there. The need to prove to everyone how smart your own kid is and what a great, involved parent you are. Especially if it’s your first child. The need to show off seems to drop exponentially the more kids you have. Or if you decide to unschool and let go of all the posturing that comes from the constant pressure to score high, be the best, get the grades, etc.
If we could some how hit the mute button on all these over-earnest parents and just let the kids be kids for awhile, we might be amazed at the results.