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30 December 2007

Why Not?

Why isn't Ethan able to sit up and coo on request? Why isn't he able to play Monopoly, dial a phone or understand the critical difference between washable fabrics and non-washable fabrics?? Why not... why not I ask?

Because he is barely 2 months old, he still poops himself and his eyes still roll around in his head when he wakes up too abruptly. That's why.

Thankfully, there are charts and systems in place to monitor the development of our children. In theory, when we see the 7 year old undressing his mother in order to breast feed or the 4 year old playing Rachmaninoff on the piano with perfection, we know those activities do not fall into statistical norms. And that is supposed to make us feel better, unless of course it is our 7 year old looking for a little nip, that is.

Of course in our kinder, gentler world, the charts list the notable accomplishments and milestones of our children broken down into Mastered, Emerging and Advanced skills. And if our child doesn't fit into one of those, there are plenty of disclaimers present that protect our fragile parental ego's from learning that little Timmy is a dunce because he is 6 months old and still can't roll over by himself.

Milestone charts also create that other special breed of lovable parent (not): the boastful, 'my Gertrude exceeds all statistical measures for greatness and will someday pull a Leona Helmsley on your butt' type.

Then there are the other, unwritten measures of public opinion. And aren't those just precious (not)? "You mean, Baby Samantha isn't sitting up by herself yet? Hmmmmmm." The look is complete with the Marcus Welby MD wannabe, feigned look of concern over the top of their spectacles and the follow-up..."if it were me....." comment at the tip of their tongue.

We all are guilty to some degree right? Part of our free society is the freedom and encouragement to rise, to try, to succeed against all challenges. That includes ALL challenges and the result is that we are an inherently competitive society.

We want to have the smartest baby, the best looking gal (sorry dudes, I already won!), the biggest bank account, the best presents, the biggest ..... well, you get the idea.

Yesterday the New England Patriots won their last regular season game to end 16-0, a feat that hasn't been accomplished since 1972. Among people that knew about that run at repeating history, I challenge you find very many that didn't come down on one side or another of the challenge. Either they wanted the Patriots to win and finish undefeated, or they wanted them to lose because their unquestioned dominance on the field was, well, dominating.

It is difficult to resist our society's and our own nature. By the way, did I share that Ethan pooped the length of his changing table?

I bet that puts his sphincter in the 99th percentile...


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