It’s Like Apples and Oranges, Really » Teeny Manolo

It’s Like Apples and Oranges, Really

By Glinda


(Photo Credit: Jono Rotman)

There is a family next door to my parents whose son is a week older than the Munchkin.  Sometimes we get the boys together to play, and there is invariably a conversation that goes something like this:

Mom: Soooo, the Munchkin is very tall.  How tall is he?

Glinda: Uhhh, I want to say something like 45 inches, I’m not really sure.

Mom:Hmmm….  Is the Munchkin reading yet?

Glinda: Yes, yes, he’s reading.  He really likes reading.

Mom: I seeeee.  How about math?  Is he doing addition?  What about writing? Can he write his name?

Glinda: All of that, yes.

And on it goes, the sole purpose of which is to measure her son against mine.  Who’s taller?  Who can throw the ball better? Which one has the better social skills?  It’s sort of exhausting answering the seemingly endless battery of questions.

While I can understand the temptation to compare since they are so close in age, sometimes I just want to completely lie.  To say something totally outrageous and actually dare her to call me on it.

Mom: So, what kind of books is the Munchkin reading?

Glinda: Well, yesterday we finished War and Peace, which he just loved.  Now I’m thinking of starting on some Shakespeare, maybe Henry V, maybe Hamlet.  It’s so hard to tell which one he will like better.  But I think so far his favorite book has been The Republic by Plato.  He’s really into the whole just and unjust concept.  We debate it practically every night before bedtime.

That’ll teach her.


7 Responses to “It’s Like Apples and Oranges, Really”

  1. raincoaster Says:

    Just tell her you’ve put the kibosh on the recreational reading until he finishes that manuscript. The publisher wanted it in a week ago!

  2. Long Island Says:

    And it does not stop even in the teen years.

    I just had a mom ask what my son got on the SAT.

    I was really tempted to say something outrageous, “Well he received a perfect score. It was been such a pain with MIT, Harvard etc calling nonstop. The College Board called also, they want to publish his essay. According to the follks at the college board there is a possibility his essay is worthy of a Nobel prize in literature.”

  3. Awesome Mom Says:

    That would be an awesome comeback.

  4. Bellamama Says:

    Ugh! It’s really weird! My little man is barely trotting around and lisping out a few words and I hear nothing but “when did he walk?” “how many words does he say?” “does he feed himself yet?” “what percentile is he?”

    And this goes on well past the teen years! My husband’s grandmother told me the other day, she still sits around with her friends saying “so what does your grandson do? I seeee…” and “my son’s wife is a college grad. What does your daughter-in-law do?”

  5. Mrs. Hall Says:

    The fellow mom obviously has a need to compare the kids. I wonder why. Most likely she is in need for validation of her kid, and by proxy, her parenting skills.

    I say, address this need. But not by the endless and repetitive questions. I think it is important to say something, and have it be humorous. Like, “You seem to be asking a lot of questions, are you a recruiter for Harvard?” or “Wasn’t this on the exam last time?” or “What’s with all the questions, are you a secret agent for the FBI?” And smile and be positive about it. Validate that her kid is developing just fine, tell her kid is super cool and it is great the kids can hang out. And then emphasize the beauty of individual development.

    And then don’t be a victim, stop answering the questions.

    Sorry for the unsolicited advice! I just can’t help myself!


    Mrs. Hall

  6. marvel Says:

    New Olympic sport: Competitive child-rearing. I envision something along the lines of the decathlon, where moms are presented with 10 different children at 10 different ages and have a limited amount of time to coax them through various developmental milestones.

    I have to admit I do have discussions along the same lines with moms of other kids who are about my daughter’s age. I do not mean to set up the questions as a competition, though–I’m often just seeking advice for navigating various stages. (When was your daughter ready to potty-train? How did you do it? etc. Translation: Help me! Help me! Or, What books do your children read? Translation: We’ve been stuck on curious george for six months; please please please suggest a new book. Etc.)

  7. Eilish Says:

    This is called competitive mothering and I studiously avoid anyone interested in it.

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