Simran is now over two years old. Pretty frequently, usually over weekends, I take her to play-parks so she can make new friends. It’s fun to watch her play with other kids. As her personality is growing and she’s becoming a ‘little person’ in herself, I am enjoying raising her more each day. But it annoys the crap out of me when I sometimes get bombarded with questions (from parents) about how much she has ‘learnt’ so far. Well, not so much by the questions, but the comparison that usually follows:
“Can she say 1 to 20? … No? … Really?”
“Can she talk in sentences? … Mine did when she wasn’t even two!”
“Oh, is she still shy? … My son can mingle with anyone.”
“Can she add? … You should have taught her by now.”
“Can she do this? Can she do that? … Mine can.”
You get my point. I don’t get theirs. Seriously, there is no point in comparing! Ever heard about those apples and oranges? I am a parent who is trying to raise a kid, not a cookie-cutter with a predetermined parenting stencil. Moreover, she’s two, damn it! Also, are these questions that important? No one has ever asked me, “How much does she smile per day?”, “Does she seem happy in her school?”, “How many times do you hug her everyday?”, “Does she like cuddling with you?”, “How can we love our kids more?”, “How can we spend more time with them?” Only if we ask the right questions, may be rest will easily follow.
I am not competing with anyone. I repeat, I am not competing with anyone. I don’t care if she recites all her poems today or a couple months down the line. I don’t care if she can add today or learns it when she’s four. She’s not a machine with a set schedule. She’s a human being- a remarkable one at that. She has crossed many ‘milestones’ way earlier than what the books say that I’m not going to list here. But that doesn’t give me the privilege to be condescending to those who didn’t. Who sets these milestones anyway?
I know, she will face numerous competitors in her school, college, university, career, etc., but no, parenting is not a competition. It’s not about the race but more about who participates with full vigor and passion. There are no winners or losers. It’s just a method to get your kid ready for the competitions that s/he will face in future. I am so fortunate to have a lovely, happy and healthy daughter like her. If you read this article may be your perspective will change. What more can I ask for?
I am proud of my Simran today and I will always be. I don’t want to compare her with anyone else because there is only one Simran and there always will be only one Simran. I’ll teach her the best I can, and I’ll make sure she learns the best she can. That’s all there is. Period.