I was thinking about this thing. Someone said this to me recently: “You should never compare your child to someone else’s.” No. You definitely shouldn’t. Only a massive idiot would do that, surely?
Here’s another thing: what kind of idiot wouldn’t?
Okay, I admit it, I’m constantly checking out my friends’ kids and totting up all the things that Teddy can’t do yet. It took him ages to crawl, years to walk, weaning was a nightmare (still is, to be honest), and conversation is a little limited. His buddies are – all of them – running marathons, deftly picking their way through platters of fruits de mer, speaking three languages fluently, have upgraded to IOS 7 with no problems and are politely correcting my grammatical errors on here using the WordPress app I’ve so far been unable to download. Because I’m too scared to upgrade to IOS 7. They’re not. They backed up all their data to Dropbox beforehand and everything. Bastards.
Does Teddy ever come out ‘better’ than his buddies in my comparison charts? Well, yes, obviously – he’s just always better. As a person, as a hilarious, beautiful human being, he tops all the charts. It’s just that he doesn’t do things very quickly.
But, now, here’s the thing. If you don’t compare your child to everyone else’s, how else are you supposed to think, MY child is the best one ever because THEIR child is rubbish? Even if they can speak three languages, not including C+. That lovely smug feeling you get when your child isn’t the one that’s whined all afternoon (although he did all day yesterday, but no-one was there to see that, so it doesn’t count), that brilliant warm glow you get when he shares a toy, or almost says “tractor”, or simply bats his eyelashes and makes grown women faint at three paces. That’s what child-comparison is all about, people. Feeling better than everyone else for one tiny moment. Because a second later your stumbling, incoherent, malnourished offspring will be poking his sharp little fingers into your bellybutton, stealing your iPhone and calling the emergency services, and having a hissy fit because the bread stick he’s been given is not the same as the other one. That one. No, not that one. That one.