Dom, my little boy is really advanced for his age. No, really, he is. The problem is however, that if you search this phrase on google you will get circa 5,040,000 webpages of people telling you the same thing about their children. So, either we're a race of geniuses, or we're a species who admire and covet our young?
You could interpret this 'my child is advanced' obsession, as middle class parental oneupmanship. And Perhaps it is. I think it may also be adults living vicariously through our children.
Lets translate the phrase; 'My child is advanced for his age' as 'My child is advanced because I'm such a good parent, look at me, and look at how I was as a child. Only better'.
I don't have a problem with this; I see Miche and I in our children every moment of every day. I'll admit to basking in the reflected glory of my kids learning at a rapid pace, being pretty and charming. And I'll also admit to fretting needlessly, because other children are better behaved, more literate, more intelligent, kinder and more confident than my kids.
I think that at the root of this parental obsession with our kids progress (other than genetic parental urges) is the need to remain children ourselves. It scares the shit out of the majority of us that we're actually adults. We wonder 'how the fuck did that happen?'. One moment we were kids, and before we realised what was going on, we're looking down the barrel of old age.
What do we do with this realisation then? We do what we always have - deny it and pretend that we are OK with being responsible, balanced, in the red and mortgaged. Rather than admit to our (sub) conscious urges to run away from it all, we express our nascent needs through the youth in our community and family.
Which is OK really, as long as we can admit it to ourselves. In my view, we should embrace the child within us and enjoy each opportunity for playfulness that life gives us.
Which brings me back to my Dominic.
He's just about to meet his third birthday head on, ripping through each day like a whirlwind. And like any child of three he takes life literally. These past two days have been no exception;
After a glass of milk on Sunday evening Dom let rip a huge belch. I swore it vibrated the floor boards. Stifling a laugh I said "Now Dom, What do you say when you burp?"
He looked at me, and after due consideration of my question he said; "I say 'BURRRRP'!"
True, true. How could I deny the fact that when you burp you say "Burrrp".
The next day he was walking down the stairs. Miche was at the bottom looking up at him. As he got to the bottom she said "Kiss on the stairs Dom!". Miche puckered up, ready for her sloppy, motherly kiss. Dom looked at his Mum in the same way he'd looked at me yesterday. He turned around, pointed his arse towards his mother and kissed the stair.
Fair do's - she had asked him to kiss the stairs. How could this not lift the spirits?
As I say, Dom is pretty advanced for his age.