Only since I became a mother have I realized how the mommy brain becomes a hyperbolic storehouse of baby milestones. I use the term hyperbole on purpose because according to the all-knowing Wikipedia, it is an extravagant statement or figure of speech not intended to be taken literally. The italicized part is particularly important to this context, where babies get potty-trained at six months, or start speaking entire languages before their first birthday.
For first-time moms, like I was four years ago, it either induced the ‘Wow’ response or a hasty mental retreat into why my first-born Ayaana wasn’t behaving superhuman. Or superinfant as the case may be. My mind would dart back to a video I once saw on Youtube in which a little girl could accurately point out every single country on a world map. And predictably, she was Asian. But let’s not get stereotypical.
My wonder at how advanced all the babies of the moms I knew seemed to be, lingered long until I realised it was to be taken with a dash, or a fistful, of salt. Thankfully, it didn’t affect me beyond a sense of wonderment because my euphoria at becoming a mom kept those doubts at bay. The only ‘milestones’ I really cared about at that point were her gaining weight, and pooping the required number of times a day. And she was achieving those with alacrity.
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I see babies readily wiggle into and out of those toy tunnels, and merrily hang from monkey bars. But all Ayaana wants to do is collect little bean bags. Or, as she did last week, put a few on my head and watch them fall. There’s a good lesson in balance and innovation, I thought. But I guess I was the only one who thought it. The real reason I put her in a ‘class’ was because she’s our first child and needs to interact with other children in the absence of siblings. But as luck would have it, she’s busy walking right past her peers and doing her own thing.
I wonder if I can call that a skill.