The Imaginary Child Prodigy!

A couple of days ago while sorting through some old papers, I came across a few drawings made by my daughter, which really should have been in her box file and not mine. But, when I turned it over I knew why I had kept it. It was the first colored picture she made of the two of us together. In typical four year old style, there were two stick figures (even though I'm no stick), both with flowing long hair, and triangle looking dresses which I know she'll one day argue are "A line and cool." As I stared at the picture, smiling at the butterflies she had drawn in the background, which really resemble ants marching across the page, I noticed she had spent considerable time paying attention to detail. The shoes on both our feet (also looking like ants marching) matched, and they contrasted with our dresses, which also matched each other, while the butterflies matched the color of the dresses and shoes. "She's a regular Picasso" I thought to myself, or rather "Valentino, watch out!"

She happily attended Art Camp last year with her brother, and I ran out of places to display all sorts of strange and wonderful pieces of art they created! We smile, we gush, we tell them it looks "FABULOUS" while racking our brains trying to guess what it really is, because they're standing there, looking at us all excited and gleeful. And, if you don't guess correctly, you're screwed!

Children are wonderful creatures.

And, they're not all geniuses!

So, now I'm going to slide into the rant you knew was coming. Mothers who give birth to budding Picassos aka child prodigies. And, I'm not talking about real child prodigies! I'm talking about the imaginary ones, some mothers insist are several cuts above their counterparts. Have you seen an oil painting done by a two year old?

I was gifted one.

It must be so satisfying to dip your child's fingers in oil paint and then forcibly drag it across a canvas, to create a riot of colors designed to look childlike, yet professional.

Who are they kidding? Other moms?

Moms who are almost daily presented with some piece of art, or a pebble dripping ink, or a cupcake with teeth dents in it, and a proud voice saying "Look Mommy, I made train tracks on the muffin!" Are they trying to kid those mothers? Well, we're not being fooled for a second.

Your child is not a genius, and you need to give it a rest. Or rather give little Jane a piece of paper and some crayons and let her draw stick figure pictures of her grandparents. Allow your child to be a child, and get over your stupid desire to raise perfect children, when you yourself are average or below that.

Stop caking their faces with makeup at beauty pageants when they're 4 years old! Or even 10. Forcing them to attend the dance classes they loathe, because you one day dreamed of being a ballerina is ridiculous. And, just because your great-uncle Jim strums a guitar at family get togethers, while singing off key, does not mean musical talent runs in your family. Doing their homework is not cool either.

And, don't even get me started on extremist red-shirting plans, when they should have started Kindergarten two years ago.

Of course people have the right to raise their kids how they want to. But, I wish these mothers would stop for a minute and think of the damage they're doing to their own child. Forget about the rest of us with kids who are just average, and might one day surprise us with some hidden talent. Think of how much your little one thinks they have to live up to? How insecure they must feel, because they know it's really Mommy who drew the picture for the competition she insisted they enter. How do you think she feels not being appreciated for who she is, and what she can do?

You're far from perfect, just like the rest of us.

Don't expect perfection from your kids.



Debi said...

ITA! Expect effort, not perfection.

When my boys started singing little songs with made up words, my husband immediately gushed that they'd be song writers JUST LIKE DADDY. Gosh, I hope not! It would be nice if they made more than they spend ;-)