I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me. (from Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne)
My son is sixteen and a half months old. He knows how to say the following words: mama, da (daddy), mo (more), all gone, gone gone, bye bye, knock, knock, cracker, no, ish (yes), baby, nigh nigh (night night), woof woof, cack cack (quack quack), and boo. Until tonight I was pretty proud of this. I was pretty sure he was advanced. But all it took was one woman telling me that her nephew knows all of the shapes and colors at nineteen months, including “pink octagon” for me to doubt all of my parenting to this point.
I could feel the panic and remorse rising in my chest as I thought, “Benjamin is only three months younger than this child! He doesn’t know what an octogon is! He doesn’t know what pink is! I’ve failed!!!!!!!!!”
That’s the moment. Right there. The one where I snap a mental picture of myself hyperventilating over a pink octogon. The moment when I realize I have been sucked into the game I swore I would never play: the comparison game. The parenting competition.
And then there’s the next moment. The one in which I come to my senses and think of Winnie the Pooh. And smile. And choose to read him a story rather than drill him on shapes.