Have you seen this infomercial? If your a Momma with children under the age of six, and keep your tv tuned in to Nickelodeon 24/7, like me, then you've probably seen this a billion times. If not, take a quick gander...
Our babies' brains are incredible, there's not doubt about that. The fact that they can soak up and comprehend the world around them, long before they can verbally communicate, is proof to me that God did indeed create us all, fearfully and wonderfully.
That being said...
Is there really a NEED for our babies to read?? With products like this, our society has taken helicopter-parenting to a whole new level. (Helicopter-parenting: The act of a parent who constantly hovers, living vicariously through his/her children, in an effort to create Type A-over-achieving-perfectionist-robots.)
Yeah, yeah, yeah... so you've tapped into some extra brain space early on and now can impress all your friends at the next playdate. What young parents don't realize is this... Once you have a true reader in the house, things get tricky. Just like many of the other milestones you're so happy for your first child to reach... rolling, crawling, walking, talking... You quickly realize with your subsequent children that while those milestones are fun, they're also a pain in the butt....
Now that you have a roller, you can no longer let the baby nap on your bed, which is his favorite spot in the whole house and the only spot he'll sleep more than seven minutes... Now that you have a crawler, you have to sweep and mop daily because the baby will be putting EVERYTHING in his mouth... Now that you have a walker, the baby will be getting into more trouble than you thought possible. No cabinet, closet, toilet is safe. You cannot turn your back for a second. Ever. Even if you have safety locks, the little Houdini will still find a way into trouble.... Now that you have a talker, you can expect him to repeat the sayings you probably shouldn't have said, at the most inopportune times.
Well, let me just tell ya, same thing goes for that old reading milestone as well.
Once you have a reader, gone are the days of calling up a girlfriend to schedule a playdate and spelling out the plans, "Hey, can y'all P-L-A-Y later? Great! Do you wanna G-O-S-W-I-M-M-I-N-G or take a P-I-C-N-I-C to the P-A-R-K?"
This is important to do, because should the plans be cancelled or changed at the last minute, your tiny people will whine. The. Rest. Of. The. Day.
Once you have a reader, you can no longer tell your husband to quit being a J-A-C-K-A-S-S about how much you spent last month.... on groceries. And, you can no longer tell him that he can take his M-O-T-H-E-R-F-L-I-P-P-I-N-G budget and shove it up his T-I-G-H-T-A-S-S. Not that I would EVER speak or spell in such a manner though. Nope, not me.
Also, forget spelling out your children's birthday wish list items to your mother-in-law over the phone. And don't ever forget to logout of your e-mail account around Christmastime, since you did just send that list to your husband titled, "STUFF KIDS WANT FROM SANTA... FIT THIS INTO YOUR BUDGET, BUTT HEAD."
Spelling out names and details you are discussing no longer works either. Instead of saying, "Today at Burger King, S-U-E-E-L-L-E-N tried to tell me that lil' J-O-H-N-P-A-R-K-E-R was potty trained at 18 months, and glanced down all self-righteous, looking at my 2 year old in a diaper still. I wanted to scream at her, 'Your kid just laid a T-U-R-D up in the tunnel, you I-D-I-O-T! I'm no D-U-M-M-Y!' So, if you call that potty-trained, then fine. But I don't want to clean C-R-A-P out of underwear! You know? Why does she have to be all high and mighty? I don't think we can play with them anymore. It's just not good for my Christianity!"
It doesn't stop there. Don't write anything embarrassing on your grocery list that you don't want announced loud and proud for all Publix patrons to hear... "Mommy! Next on your list is ta-tam-tamp-TAMPONS!! DID YOU GET YOUR EXTRA ABSORBENCY TAMPONS YET MOMMA?? Oh, you did?? Okay, then now on the list is pr-prep-prepar...umm...PREPARATION H! How about that one? Did you get your PREPARATION H YET MOMMA??" Awesome. And, if you have a smart-alek husband like mine, who sees your list out on the counter then adds naughty items to the list while you aren't looking, you might have a hard time explaining some of those as well. Yes, you could just re-write the list when you notice he's done that, but if you've got the time to re-write a list you've been scribbling on for the last four days, then you've got more time on your hands than I do.
So, if you're an under-achiever like me, who's completely fine with allowing the kindergarten teacher to do her job and teach your child to read when they're five years old, instead of five days old, take pride in the fact that you're not a helicopter parent. And at the next playdate, when SueEllen starts to brag on lil' John Parker for being able to read at six months, boldly look her in the eyes and say, "So?"
Invent a program that teaches ALL the males in my house to ring the toilet when taking a leak. Then, I'll be impressed.