Thursday, August 7, 2014

My Baby is Not Extraordinary

I'm sorry, I couldn't help myself.  Anyone who has been on Facebook or in the blogosphere in the last year has doubtless noticed the slew of faux-controversial titles while the body of the blog is actually sneakily expressing the opposite sentiment of that title....i.e. My Wedding Was the Worst Day of My Life (subtext: because each day of marriage gets better and better)   OR   Teachers Today Don't Know What They're Doing (subtext: they don't know how much they inspire the children of America)  OR  I Hate My Wife (subtext: I hate how much she makes me love her ::winky face winky face heart heart kissy face::) know what I'm talking about.  These bloggers were really listening when their 4th grade teachers taught them about starting their essays with an attention grabber.  In all honesty, I usually can't help but roll my eyes a little at these.   Don't trick me into reading your sentimental notions when I'm wanting to be incensed by something shocking, controversial, or ignorant!


This is not my typical blog post.  I've mainly been using my blog to record events that happened during pregnancy and my child's life so I don't forget.  Dates, facts, anecdotes, pictures.  But today I'm going to record some feelings I've been having as a mom.  I don't keep a diary and it's my blog so....I do what I want.

I mean what I said in my title.  In the grand scheme of the world, my baby is not unusual or extraordinary.  10 fingers, 10 toes, 2 eyes, etc.  I'm sure she'll have teeth eventually.  It took her a while to learn to roll, and she still doesn't quite have it down.  She's pretty close to walking, which is certainly early, but I'm sure she's not the only baby to learn to walk at or around 8 months.  I, myself, learned at only (insert hair flip here) 9 months.  No big deal.  Is she cute?  THE CUTEST!!!!! And yet, other babies are also really cute.

I went to a nearby tourist trap this weekend.  The weather was nice, the company was good, and it was at the coast, so I was definitely game.  AND I did the best and most classic thing that can be done at a tourist trap: I bought some fudge.  I sampled a few, including jalapeño and maple bacon, ended up settling on the safe (but delicious) caramel pecan, and started chatting up the lady behind the counter.  She had a grandbaby just a little younger than Jenna and you could tell, she really loved that baby.  This is a good thing.  Babies are supposed to be loved.  Then, she started asking me if Jenna was crawling yet. Or maybe rolling? I can't quite remember.  Either way, the answer was "Kind of..." And then she dove in with the "Oh really? Because MY grandbaby..." and she starts telling me about how her grandchild started to crawl/roll at 3 months or 4 months or something...I forget. (See? This is why I have to write all of Jenna's life events in a blog.) Anyway, the general framework was this: "My baby started ___________ at ___ months old...isn't that AMAZING? He/She is extraordinary!"  

If you're a mom, this is not new to you.  If you're holding a baby, people want to talk to you about your baby  and THEN they can talk about THEIR baby. Again, this is good.  I love swapping baby stories.  I love hearing them and I love sharing mine.  But I feel like there's a problem when we start bragging on our babies like fudge lady and a million other people and probably even myself sometimes have done.  Because while Person A is talking about how AMAZING and EXTRAORDINARY their baby is, Person B is automatically feeling either defensive, worried, or sad.  Because if Person A has an extraordinary, amazing, and special baby because it could crawl at 4 months, and Person B's baby didn't crawl until 6 months, the subtext is that Baby B is not extraordinary, amazing, or special.

I walked out of that fudge shop feeling affronted.  How DARE she talk about how great HER baby is when MY baby is clearly also great, if not GREATER!?!  ...I had to do some soul searching about that later on.  Who knows?  Maybe fudge lady's grandchild will grow up to win a medal for having the world's strongest arms and she can point back to that crawling three-month old and prove that that child was always extraordinary.  But the numbers say that MOST people will have babies that fall into the solid majority.  Hence, MAJORITY!

Look, I'm not saying Jenna isn't going to grow up to be extraordinary.  She could one day work really hard and become the president, an olympian, a Nobel Prize winner, or the architect who designs and constructs the first suburb on Mars while using all recycled materials.  But right now, she's a baby.  She has been given a normal baby brain.  She didn't come out of the womb speaking multiple languages or tap dancing or cooking soufflé.  She does some things quickly and some things slowly.  She's loved, she's wonderful, she's mine.  And while my husband and I might whisper behind closed doors that she really IS the best baby, newsflash: EVERYBODY feels that way about their babies!!  That doesn't mean they really ARE the best baby!  If you go around trying to convince others that your baby really is the best, you are invariably telling them that their baby is NOT the best.  That's just not nice and nobody wins when you go around poking a bunch of mama bears.

My baby is not extraordinary.  She's a normal baby who learns things at a normal pace and when I talk about her to other mothers, I will tell them about the things she learns to do quickly AND the things she learns to do slowly.  And I will be sure to tell them that their baby is cute and wonderful as well, because guess what?  All babies are.
But really, mine is so cute, right?

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