A Laptop Naptime Mama

Monday, May 14, 2007

Best Kid in the World...Maybe?

When I was seven or eight, I remember sitting on the gravelly floor of the school playground having a ferocious argument with my best friend. She had just dared to suggest that her mum was “the best mum in the world.” To say I was appalled would be a gross understatement. I was mortified. How, I wondered, could she think her mum was the best mum in the world when in fact my mum was?

I was particularly dismayed that she, my best friend, who'd known my mum for half her life, would think this way. After all, my best friend had tasted my mum’s French fries; she’d seen the cool Barbie house my mum had made; she’d helped me braid my mum’s lovely long blonde hair; and when I’d invited her for a sleepover, my best friend stayed up late and watched “Starsky and Hutch” because my mum let us. So, why on earth didn’t she think MY mum was the best in the world? Especially considering HER mum wore bad shoes, made us eat yucky brown bread, and never let us watch TV.
“She is.”“She is not.”“She is”“She is not.”

The argument went on like this for quite some time – until the school bell rang, in fact. We never resolved the issue. She never came around to my way of thinking. I never came around to hers.
I used to look back at that argument and laugh. How funny those two eight-year old girls were! How naïve and sweet and silly they had been to think they could say, categorically, that their mum was best in the world. Those eight year olds just didn’t understand subjectivity, diverse world views, differences of opinion. They simply thought best was best and that was that.

However, now being a mum myself, I’m finding out that the screwy notion of “mine is surely the best” still exists everywhere….including, sometimes, in me.

Like when I see Benny being especially cute, e.g. when he sits like an angel at a bar and sweetly asks the bartender for “a water and a straw,” I find myself thinking, “He’s the best, most adorable kid in the world.” Or when I hear him saying, when Brad comes home from the office, “How was work, Baba?” I can’t help melting inside and thanking my lucky stars for having the politest, sweetest kid that ever lived.

Sometimes, so full of love, I find it hard to fathom that people aren’t stopping me on the street to tell me that my child is indeed the best in the world. I also sometimes have a hard time watching other parents looking at their own children with the same look of wonder and adoration that I can’t help feeling only Benny deserves. After all, their kids are shrieking, out-of-control, and whining monsters – not a bit like Benny.

Of course, after these moments of melting love for my dearest Benny, when I think there could never be a better kid, I always get the reality check I deserve. No sooner have I looked down my nose at someone else’s children, Benny always reminds me that he can whine, flail, and shriek as good as the rest of them. And just when I think no kid could be as sweet and kind as Benny, I’m confronted with another three year old at the park who not only shares all his toys with Benny but also offers Benny a car to bring home with him. Something my rather possessive Benny would never, ever, do.

All kids are the best in the world – at least, according to their parents. I just have to face up to that fact and instead of trying to label Benny, just enjoy him!

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