Whilst shopping in Bury yesterday we bumped into one of Maria’s friends, Matthew, who was also being pushed around the market by his parents. The mothers recognised each other, the fathers had never met and Maria & Matthew couldn’t be prompted into acknowledging one another. Catriona and Maria have made many good friends through attending National Childbirth Trust "Bumps and Babes" group and have developed a tight circle of half a dozen local mothers with a wider circle of friends spreading across Bury.
Lynn quickly explained to her husband; "This is Maria who can say ‘horse’." I inwardly smiled, it sounded a daft thing to say, but I knew exactly where she was coming from; there are so many toddlers and toddler’s mother’s names to remember that an extra piece of information such as this can aid the memory.
Then the smile turned outward as I realised that Maria must be held in high esteem in Matthew’s household for this verbal feat. I bristled with pride as I gazed down at my daughter but then it struck me that Matthew’s dad might think that her saying horse is the full extent of her talents. There’s much more to Maria than mere equine enunciation, she’s not a one trick pony (if you can pardon the pun).
Now I’m not a naturally competitive person and I’m aware of how awful and intolerable competitive dads are, but you do have a natural curiosity for what your offspring’s peers are doing and you can’t help comparing them with your own. For example I’m very envious of Sophie D who has been doing Elephant impressions for months now, whereas Maria barely recognises the animal (unless it is Elmer who if you don’t know is multicoloured and not very representative of his species).
I’m not aware that Maria is particularly advanced with her speech, but she does say some words very well, whilst others she seems to have a mental block with. I wouldn’t put her up on any pedestal but she can hold her own (in conversation) and Matthew’s family clearly thought she was performing above average in this area. The competitive dad sprung out of me and I piped up "She said her first sentence yesterday". I couldn’t believe how sickening I sounded. A real competitive Dad would have studied the expression of his opposite number and revelled in any sign of exasperation as he played a trump card as strong as this one, but I didn’t.
We recounted the "Cake Please" incident of the previous evening which would have softened the initial blow as a two word sentence is hardly the Gettysburg Address. However, on parting Lynn said that she expected Matthew would be made to practise his words by his Dad for much of the afternoon. Poor Matthew!