Thursday, August 12, 2010

Talent

I think, as parents, we are on the lookout for our children's talent(s) from the day they're born.

"She's the best sleeper!"
"He's eating 5 ounces already!"
"Oh, she was potty trained by two!"
"He knows all his numbers already!"

You know the drill. We moms and dads are so proud of these "accomplishments" (read "developmental milestones"), and love to brag, incessantly and to anyone within earshot, just how advanced and talented little Johnny is because he walked at 10 months (read "star athlete").

I've done it. I admit it. You have too. Whether you want to admit it or not.

As they get older, you actually DO start to notice where their talents might lie. My oldest, a boy, has always been athletic. He may not be the best student, or a musician (but that has yet to be determined), but I do know, at this point, that he will shine athletically.

My youngest, another boy, is only 4. It's still a bit early to tell, although he seems to have an affinity for the piano, and will spend an hour trying different notes and combining them to hear how they sound. And he's got some mad dancing skills. His air guitar is bananas.

Little Meems...well, we're trying to find her talent. She loves to sing, but is completely tone deaf. She likes to dance, but rhythm is not her friend. She loves her gymnastic mats, but she's about as coordinated as I am (and maybe even less so, and for those of you who know me, you know how uncoordinated I am). She's not interested in anything. Her brothers want to play soccer, and swim, and do karate, and take guitar lessons, etc. She wanted to do soccer...but only because they have snacks.

Which is not a good reason to do soccer.

So far, her talents are 1) touching her tongue to her nose; and 2) burping her ABCs.

The latest being a new development.

Sigh. I am so proud.

But wait. Don't we, as parents, want our children to be able to hang their hats on something, no matter how trivial? Each little talent is a confidence builder to a kid. Little Meems lights up when asked about her tongue-to-nose talent. Hey, let's face it, not many people can do THAT. Maybe her new burping talent is OK after all. I remember being tiny for my age and the thrill I felt when I learned how to make myself belch like a beer-swillin' trucker. It was my hidden talent, and now she's mastered it as well. Occasionally I'll treat my kids to a display because I enjoy the belly laughs and the little thrill it gives them to hear their mom do something so crass and inappropriate. So maybe it's OK not to be alarmed that her talents lie, not on the sports fields or in music halls, but in bar tricks.

Besides, she'll find something eventually that she'll love. I did. It took a while, and while I was never great at anything, I did find I was good at some things.

And if her new talent makes her feel proud, then I'll be OK with it. And I'll be happy for her. Regardless of the fact that it's inappropriate (because then it wouldn't be fun). Until I get a note from her teacher, or bus driver, or babysitter, or neighbor...

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