You know who they are. Hell, it’s impossible to miss them. The parents who are not only proud of their kids, they can’t shut up about them.
Before you can even blink they’re talking about how junior is already eating solids, crawling, speaking, walking, pole vaulting and using the quadratic equation to somehow cure cancer. Sure they ask how your baby is doing and they’ll listen for a few minutes, but they’re only listening to you to collect enough information to calculate how much more advanced their own kids are.
And the whole time all you’re thinking is “Oh my God just shut the hell up you over competitive freak!” right? Believe me, I know exactly how irritating parents like that can be. Because…well…I am one.
Yup, I’m that parent. I’m not proud of it, but I won’t shy away from it either. I’ve tried to pretend I’m not like that, but I have to own up to it. I know, I make myself sick.
But I can’t help it. I’m so proud of Will and I can’t stop talking about him. Ever. But while parental pride is a good thing, I have a problem. It’s a problem I’ve had all my life. You see, I’m competitive. Actually, that’s an understatement akin to calling Sarah Palin “slightly misinformed.” I’m super competitive. Uber competitive. Annoyingly competitive.
I have been all my life. I was so competitive and whiny as a Little League baseball player, I’d hit a double and then cry while standing on second base because it wasn’t a home run. I’m so bad that sports and fun activities have no meaning for me without competition. When my wife and I went bowling for our anniversary on Tuesday, we couldn’t just bowl and enjoy each other’s company. I had to come up with stakes for the game to make it interesting. I spotted her 30 pins and if she won, I had to wake up early with Will every day for a week. And if I won, I got a morning sandwich at least once this week. I won by the way!
And unfortunately, this trend has reared its ugly head when it comes to Will. I’m one of those parents who’s obsessed with milestones and how fast Will reaches them. Thankfully, he hasn’t disappointed. He’s crawled and taken his first steps early. But I think that’s just made things worse because now my brag-o-meter is turned up to 11. Now when we see another baby or talk to another parent, I immediately ask about the kid’s age and whether or not he/she is crawling, standing, walking, talking, etc. And if Will is ahead of the kid I smile a satisfied grin, but if he’s lagging behind I get all worked up and spend the next 30 minutes trying to get Will to do whatever it is the other baby does better.
Is that unhealthy, stupid and detrimental? Yup. Does that matter? Unfortunately no.
The only thing I will say in my defense is that I’m not vocal or mean about it. I kind of file it all away in my head instead of being a dick and saying it all out loud. Only MJ knows the true extent of my competitive lunacy, and boy does she hate it. I don’t blame her, it’s obnoxious. But it’s also something I do without even realizing it and despite concerted efforts to knock it off, I’ve had no success in changing.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I just read about a baby who can already say “Dada,” “Mama,” and “Doggy.” Will can only say “Dada” so we have some serious catching up to do!