We’ve all seen them on the tellybox haven’t we?
The pushy parents who live their entire lives through their kiddies and whose routines revolve around taxi duty for their little darlings.
The parents who will stand up for their sproggies, regardless of whether or not Junior is in the wrong. The parents who can’t see even the slightest possibility that their little darling might not just be absolutely fantastic at absolutely everything!
The mummies who drop their kiddies off at school or creche in their gym gear, all swinging ponytails and smiles, who subtly boast about their gifted child or their over-achieving genius: who ring the school to complain that their little angel isn’t playing the star in the school play when she was Mary in the Nativity three years in a row…
and we all smile smugly in the knowledge that we would NEVER be like them.
Even the thought is ridiculous!
It’s utterly absurd!… and yet, we’re all more than capable of it!
How do I know? Because just last week, I found myself turning into one of these soccer moms, minus the swinging ponytail. And I’m not ashamed to say it!
I took Mini-Me to the Public Health Nurse for her developmental check. It was all pretty standard and uneventful really. I’m happy enough that she’s developing at an exceptional rate anyway and didn’t feel that I needed anyone to verify it. :p
We sat in the office; me on a chair in the corner, Mini-Me on a cute little seat at a tootsie little table, with colourful blocks and crayons. Nurse’s voice was cooing and soothing and she quickly established a rapport with Mini-me. She also quickly established that she was interested only in speaking to my daughter. Mummy’s voice was not required.
I quickly picked up that I was there as an observer only; to watch this stranger play with my little princess, while assessing her every move.
Fine, I thought, a little huffily if I’m honest. I had nothing to worry about. Mini-Me would show her how a three and a quarter year old rolls.
What I hadn’t banked on was that she’d be hit with a savage dose of shyness. Nurse’s baby-focused cooing suddenly seemed to be her cue to act like a wee baby!
We started off OK.
“Put the blocks in a line”…easy.
“What colour is this one?”
“Pick out the yellow ones”…duh!
We were flying. I was envisaging a gold star for both of us as we left.
“Now, can you draw a circle?”… yup!
“Can you draw two smaller circles?”… Uh oh.
I could tell that Nurse wanted her to draw a face, but the instructions caused confusion and she drew the two smaller circles outside of the large one. Catastrophe!
“Ok, draw a smiling mouth”… Mini-Me looked at her as if wondering why the heck she’d give a circle a mouth. At this point I politely interjected… “Just ask her to draw a face.” I suggested. Nursey poos wasn’t too happy, but rephrased. To my delight, Daughter turned the page over and promptly drew a face, with all required features, including eyelashes!
Hah! Take that Nursey Poos!
At this point, I sat back on the chair, exhilarated and smug. My heart was racing, just a little.
“Can you count the blocks?”
Well of course she can…
But then, she didn’t.
Instead, my beautiful, intelligent little darling announced “1,2,5,8,TWENTY!”
And this Momma-bird nearly fell off her perch.
I was about to interrupt again…until I realised that while Mini-me was playing the the I’m an ickle baby game with Nurse, I was turning into one of those mothers.
It was like an out-of-body experience. My throat constricted as I tried not to scream “She can count to 20! In English AND in Irish!”. I squirmed in my chair, trying not to get up and rearrange the blocks for her to try again. I noted my racing heart and sweaty palms as I tried to control the urge to ‘turn teacher’ and get her to do it right.
This was terrible! How could I let this woman, who was assessing my child, think that she was seeing anything other than a genius? She should be awestruck as she realises she is in the presence of greatness. One day, she should say, “Oh yes! I remember her. She was always so gifted.”
While I kept myself in check, I became suddenly aware that Mini-Me was counting again, slower this time and properly.. Ok, she left out 15 as usual, but sure who needs 15? And Nurse was smiling, filling out her notes and finishing up the session.
I felt my heart rate return to normal-mental-mother pace, and when she asked if I had any concerns, I smiled sweetly and said “No, I think she’s fine. Do you see anything to be worried about?”
She continued to tell me that she was perfectly happy that Mini-me is just fine. She seems like a very bright and intelligent child, and her counting is very good!
I was chuffed. It was a metaphoric gold star for Mammy and for Mini-me. Soccer Mom however, swished her ponytail and screamed “I could have told you that at the beginning and saved us half an hour!!”, but the normal Mammy smiled politely and thanked the lovely Nurse very much.
Because really, she was lovely and she did her job exceptionally well. And I’m suddenly very aware that I might be determined to never turn in to one of those mothers, but there might be the possibility that there’s one inside me with whom I’ll have to wrestle every so often!
But hey! Isn’t that just part of the job?