There appear to be a lot of perfect children out there. I regularly hear parents proudly detailing the expert ability of their four year old to read, or write, or solve quadratic equations. This used to annoy me when I was training to be a teacher.
"He reads very well at home. When will he move onto the next reading set?"
"Well, at this point we're still focussing on trying to get him to disregard his own faeces. One step at a time, eh?"
I can understand why parents extol the dazzling brilliance of their kids. It comes out of a mix of love and pride. But it also comes from a little kernel of desperation that lurks in the back of every parent's mind. I think if you're parenting right (which obviously I am, the evidence in this blog alone speaks volumes) you find yourself pleading in the bleak hours of the night; "Don't let my children grow up to be bat shit mentalists."
I'm as guilty of this as the next person. Regardless of his idiosyncrasies, I harbour the not-so-secret belief that the Boy will stop singing songs about his bum and write an opera. The Girl will no doubt win a Noble Prize for her imminent discovery of cold fusion, just as soon as she stops lying under the table screaming because the cat won't fetch. It's just a matter of time.
This clearly runs against the vast wealth of experience I've had in the past six years of parenthood.
"You're meant to be getting changed, Boy. Stop getting distracted."
"YOU distract me, baby!"
This was accompanied by a series of dance moves starting with Gangnam style (AGAIN) horse riding and followed by the more disturbing pelvic thrust, whilst chanting;
"Nadgers, nadgers, nadgers.. oh yeah.."
Downstairs the Girl finally finished her dinner, a titanic blood-letting experience that she dragged out for over an hour. She gets this from my Ma, I think - who has been known to finish breakfast shortly after lunchtime. I suspect this is because my Ma is from Spain, a nation that sees nothing wrong with having dinner at midnight.
Exasperated, the Wife told her to go and get some grapes from the fridge for dessert. The Girl ran from room, returned ten seconds later with an empty bowl, sat at the table, looked at the bowl and said;
Funnily enough, this does nothing to ease my worries.