When we got our Christmas tree yesterday the man who owned the property guessed Conor to be about 3. This is pretty common and is due, mostly, to his incredible size. I've mentioned this before, mainly in passing, but our son is BIG. Huge? Maybe. He's not fat, not at all. He's NEVER had that adorable baby chub that both Morgan and I were hoping for. He was, frankly, a shrimp for the first four months of his life but has steadily climbed the growth charts so he's now well over the 95th percentile for height and holding steady at the 80th percentile in weight. And really, looking at his dear old dad, its no surprise he's so big. Morgan is no shrinking violet.
Another reason people tend to think Conor is older than his not-quite-two-years is because he is so dang smart. His vocabulary is light years beyond his peers. Most 18 month old children are expected to say about 20 words and 50 words by the time they are two. At Conor's 12 month checkup I counted 35 words. Honestly, trying to count all words he knows and says now would be like trying to count all the words I know. Hundreds. I mean, literally he speaks possibly SIX TIMES the amount of words that an average two year old does and he's still three months out from his 2nd birthday.
He knows EVERY SINGLE letter of the alphabet by sight and is getting really close to having all the vowel and consonant sounds down. Yes, he knows 26 letters and can tell you what two thirds of those letters "say". He can count all the way to 20 mostly unassisted but tends to get stuck on "5-teen". I think that is because its so darn cute that we all laugh when he says "5-teen" and then he figures why go on when everyone loves that number so much? Truthfully, I've seen kindergarteners who can't count to 15 and Conor is going past that before he's two.
But, back to the Christmas tree man. He thought Conor was 3 becacuse of how steady he is on his feet. And he is. I mean, he's been walking for just about a year now and has actually spent most of the last 5 months running. And while he loves to run, and jump and throw he does fall, sometimes at a rather alarming rate. This is probably not due to some latent neurological disorder as I sometime fear, but rather to his lack of watching where he is going. So anyway, the Christmas tree guy mentioned that Conor was a really great walker and really steady and just seemed older.
And I totally down played it. I have this AMAZING son and I DOWN PLAYED his accomplishments. What the hell is wrong with me? Morgan called me on it later (in a nice way) and I realized that he's totally right. And I really struggle with this for a number of reasons.
First of all, I HATE those people that talk, talk, talk and brag, brag, brag about their kids. You know, the ones in your office who talk about nothing but how great their kids are and how advanced and blah, blah, blah. Its on par with those people who always talk about how great they are and how they are so accomplished. It annoys me. Actually, it really, really annoys me. And so I don't do it with myself and I don't do it with my son. And while I know how proud I am of him, and while his many accomplishments are one of my greatest personal sources of pride, how will he know that if I don't either tell him or let him hear my praise to other people. Imagine if he was 8 and someone commented on how smart he is or what a great baseball player (or karate or soccer or cheerleader - kidding, Babe) he is and I say something like, "oh, he's not that great". At almost two, its pretty much a non-issue but as he gets older, this would be extremely hurtful to him. I would never do it to hurt him or because I don't actually believe with all my heart that its true, but I would do it so that people wouldn't think I'm "that Mom". The one who thinks her kid is the best, brightest. But wait, I DO think that. Because in my eyes, he IS the best and brightest.
So, that is my Mommy goal. To praise my son in private and in public and to say to hell with those people who think badly of me for thinking highly of my son. I would rather the whole world think of me as "that Mom" and have my son think of me as the best Mom than the other way around.