The other day I experienced my first bout of “Mom Jealosy”. So far, Z has been basically perfect, and Baby Bird is too small to compare to other children. Sure, we have toddler friends that Z plays with, and some of them are cuter than her, but they sound like Jabberwockies and Z is saying things like, “No mommy, I don’t like that, it’s ugly, I want the cute one,” or “Oh look, binoculars!” (True story).
So, point being, she is usually the most adorable, intelligent, amazing two-year old I know. Of course, now all my other toddler mom friends will now know that I have been comparing our children. But I suspect they may be delusional in their beliefs that their little angels are superior to Z as well.
Imagine my surprise as I encountered during an office visit, the Toddler Unicorn that shall now be known as Chloe The Magnificent (CTM). CTM came in for her well child visit. She had flowing red locks, and I mean flowing. She is only two-years old. When has she had time to grow flowing locks? I reflected on the sparse nubbin of hair on Z’s head that can barely be scraped into a small hair-clip, and that I had formerly found so engagingly adorable.
I already found myself judging this child and thinking, “Okay, you have awesome hair, but I bet you sound like a Gremlin. Z’s hair may not be “flowing and luscious”, but she is still brilliant.
Then CTM said, “Hi! You’re the doctor! I’m Chloe.”
My heart sank. She seems pretty legit. I glanced down at the chart. Only two months older than Z, and Z was just going up to people at the park last week saying, “Hi! I’m Me.” Like she didn’t understand what her name was. I thought it was cute at the time, but now I am reflecting on the possibility that she may not get into an Ivy League School, and do I even want her to go Ivy League because they are overpriced and exhibit horrible grade inflation.
Then her mom said, “Chloe, tell the doctor your full name dear.”
“Oh, I’m sorry, I’m Chloe The Magnificent,” she beamed.
Crap, my kid barely knows her first name. Maybe that’s something they learn between twenty-four and twenty-six months I comforted myself.
At this point, I am understandably getting a little competitive. I start her developmental screening. She can recite her alphabet. That’s cool. Z will do that if you give her enough candy, although I am sure that CTM only makes nutritious food choices consistent with an ethical, locally grown policy.
She can draw a circle. Check, Z can do that.
She can count to twenty. No biggie, Z can too. I am down with that, but then her mom starts saying, “CTM, draw the doctor a number seven, oh good sweetie, now do 10.”
At this point, I am like, “You have got to be kidding me.” This kid can write her numbers. Z is lucky to be able to recognize how many fingers I am holding up.
Then her mom says, “Now show the doctor how you write your name.”
Shut. The. Front. Door. Seriously? And there it was in perfect childish scrawl, “CTM” plain as day. At this point, I have determined that CTM is indeed a Toddler Unicorn, not to be confused with a Pregnancy Unicorn (pregnant mom that doesn’t show till the ninth month, and then it is just a cute little bump).
I found myself going home and saying things like, “Z, what’s your full name?” Which was met with a blank stare, or, “Want to learn to write your numbers?”
But when Z greets me at the end of a long day at work with giggles and cuddles, she is just as smart and beautiful as she needs to be. Maybe my job is to help her cope with the fact that there will always be someone smarter and prettier than you are. There will always be someone better, but she is the best Z she can be and she is the Z that our Father in Heaven created and loves, and that is always good enough.
But, two days ago I was sitting on the couch while Z was playing with some of her toys, and she starts saying, “Uno, dos, tres…” and she counted all the way to ten in Spanish. I thought smugly to myself, “I bet CTM the Toddler Unicorn can’t do that.”