Why do I always end up next to the mom at the playground talking my ear off about her 3-year-old who potty trained herself and is already reading? As she blabs about her husband teaching their 5-year-old chess, I start to wonder if 9 a.m. is too early for wine. Or too early for me to whine about how my life is NOTHING like that.
Sure, I kvell. I have three small kids; who wouldn’t remark on cute things they do or say?! “Where’s Grandma’s friend, Grandpa?” Hahaha! Occasionally they even say or do something that makes me think I’m not completely screwing them up, which is cause for extreme kvelling. “Thanks for taking time to come help in my class.” Awwww!
For the most part, though, I spend more of my time as the anti-kveller. I’m usually the one who immediately assumes that my child is the one to blame, if there is someone to blame. Of course my child started the food fight. Of course my kid was talking during the presentation. I’m also the one who sits around blabbing with my peers about the annoying things my children did (like the time the baby climbed out of the crib and didn’t allow me a second of downtime all day) as opposed to bragging about their accomplishments. (I’m pretty sure missing five minutes of recess from talking too much is not an accomplishment nor anything to kvell about.)
It’s not that I don’t want to kvell, it’s that I have three small kids…need I say more?
Boasting is not an attractive quality. I’d like to say my complaints in regards to our day-to-day life are because I’m respectfully not boasting. The truth is that my life (with my children) is filled with a lot of elbow grease, emotional roller coasters, and very tricky balancing acts. It’s really not very impressive to talk up my 5-year-old for almost recognizing every letter halfway through kindergarten, let alone reading in preschool! For me to be walking around kvelling about something extraordinary would just be a downright lie.
The eternal question begs, do these other families in fact have more to kvell about (like early potty training and reading), or am I so wrapped up in the growing pains that I’m overlooking the kvell-worthy moments and focusing on all the wrong things? Do these moms on the playground just wait for an unsuspecting fool (like me) to roll up looking especially worn down from their children and wait for the right moment to articulate all the amazing things their children have done? Or are their children just more amazing than mine? Contrary to that, are my children just as amazing but I’m too blind-sided by the temper tantrums, fierce fights, and media negotiations to even recognize it?!
It’s possible I’m too hard on my kids. They are just kids, after all. So maybe I should step right up to the playground, head held high, and bust out some of my best material. My son legitimately said, “Thanks for making last night so special.” The same child that gives me a daily run for my money actually acknowledged the good work I put into making the night special for my family. Kvell, kvell, kvell. Or at the end of the day when my daughter said she couldn’t go to bed without some special snuggle time? Kvell, kvell, kvell. After I picked my baby up from preschool and he came running to me, hands open, saying, “I had fun!” Kvell, kvell, kvell.
So maybe I’m not, or at least shouldn’t be, the anti-kveller. Even in the crux of it all, I still have so much to kvell about. Just remind me of this after school…