Remember I wrote a fair while ago about a visit to some friends with a boy near Baby's age? Well, the adventure continues....
Let me give you a bit more background: we met Kevin and Andrea at the info evening of our 'hot choice' hospital, when Baby was still a few months away from seeing the light of day. I had worked with Kevin quite a while ago, shortly after he had been turned down from a 'sure-thing' job and was licking his wounds. This showed mostly when he was a little bit of a smart-arse. (Yes, for those of you with issues with these words, I should warn you, I do use them. They have great steam-releasing properties.)
Long story short, I didn't expect to stay in touch after I left the department, but we met several years later, him having chilled out a lot and much happier and have formed a friendship of sorts. Not expecting to meet anyone I knew, I was, needless to say a bit surprised to hear my name being called across the amphitheater-like presentation room in the hospital, and took a a minute to recognise the now fully-bearded Kevin, who came towards us with his pregnant wife waddling behind.
In the following months Andrea and I met up a few times, with me returning after each meet-up absolutely exhausted from the speed of chatter coming at me and the required approach speed I had to get up to in order to get a word in edge-wise. On one of the walks, I spent at least 30 minutes being told all the gory details about their little guy's birth, and he hadn't even taken as long as Baby did! Eventually I just let the waves roll over me and beseeched Hubby to come with me next time we met up.
This next time turned out to be our recent bbq. Andrea had changed her tack and had switched to firing off questions and semi-judging comments, most of which I am pretty sure she didn't actually realised sounded like they did.... but they did, nevertheless.
Our conversation amounted to the following (Andrea in black, myself in blue):
'Yes, I still breast feed and I have lost so much weight! I can eat whatever I like. I had just told her I gained a bit of weight after Baby stopped breast feeding.....
Oh, you are so LUCKY he weaned himself at such an early age. I had only just said he has been weaned since turning 5,5 months. There isn't much point forcing your kid to feed when it screams at your boobs non-stop....
Mine won't take mashed up food. I think he likes feeling bits in his mouth. Yours eats anything doesn't he? Baby was happily chomping away on his afternoon snack....
Oh, apple is a bad idea, because it is so hard. I had just told her I gave baby apple, but found it broke off too easily....
You really give him soft pretzel to suck on? Isn't that too salty? Want to guess? Yes, I had just told her we gave Baby soft pretzel, which you can bake at home and do without the salt on the outside.
He has been pulling himself up on things for weeks and even at 6 weeks, he was already pushing himself up on his arms THIS high. Picture the height of a building. Of course Baby was happily lying on his back and tummy, not crawling while all this was recounted.
I can't put him in a play pen anymore. He has never had one and he is so mobile now, I would be locking him in. Yes, i had just asked if they had tried a play pen.
Oh, we don't go to baby swimming. He is much happier when we go with him on his own. We have a swimming ring and he doesn't need anything else. Yes, you guessed right! I had just mentioned how much Baby loves baby swimming.'
Of course her child has been going to the nudist development and learning groups which seem to be obligatory in Germany. According to Andrea, this is just a group of Moms chatting while their offspring play on some mats, occasionally liberating themselves of bodily fluids. What's a bit more pee to clean up after you change the diaper all the time anyway? And what better place to notice how much more advanced your child is than all the others?
Finally, before we left the house and Baby was wailing from being tired and scared of his peer towering over him in the car seat: 'Wow, and I thought our child was loud.'
But the pièce de resistance was definitely 'So, how often does your kid shit a day?', asked while at the dinner table!
You get the picture. I think it is also referred to as the baby check, or "Let's exchange what our kids can do, to see who is a better parent." As mentioned, I am not used to these situations. All groups I have been in to-date have either included Moms with younger kids wanting to chat with me for reassurance, or parents of older kids, who I get advice from or who are lovely and generous when confronted with the situation that their child can do more than mine, even if there is only an age difference of a couple weeks.
Recently, a boy about 3 weeks older than Baby was in our play group and his mother, after watching Baby moving up onto his knees, made a point of saying 'It won't be very long anymore.' on Baby being able to crawl, after I had been amazed at her little guy's mobility. On the side: I am not sure I will not regret this longing once he is mobile....
On our way home, Hubby finally understood what I meant when getting home totally knackered (exhausted, for your Americans out there) after visits with Andrea, aka Competimommy. At least at the bbq, there were three others next to myself to buffer the intensity.
After all that, I spent the next two days with all this additional information zooming around my head, making me slightly light-headed. We had sworn ourselves not to be competitive about baby development and just let Baby get on with his thing, and that had worked great, until now. I even found myself in the situation of not wanting to tell other parents things like he sleeps through and eats well, in order not to disappoint them in case their child was not at the same point. We were just lucky!
But after this mega-comparing session even I felt the first rearing of my own inner Competimonster! Urrgghh! I found myself thinking how good it was we got Baby used to his play pen as an alternative to the floor early, how great Baby was for eating most anything we gave him, how he slept through compared to Andrea's routine of waking up to three times a night, how much cuter Baby was.....
out, evil thoughts, out evil thoughts!!!!
What Competimommy-ism can do to you.... I think I will head back to my more peaceful meet-ups from now on.
PS: In diesem Artikel geht es um Baby-Vergleicheritis und meine unerwünschte Erfahrungen damit.