This week a friend of mine with a son who's gifted decided to have a playdate with my kids and I at the library. Yeah, not the greatest idea. As soon as our kids saw BOOKS it was all over in terms of actual human interaction, and they just read the whole time. So I sat with her on a couch in the children's area, her son squirrelled away in the adult stacks, my son sitting on the floor in front of the bookcase where he found a Lego minifigure encyclopedia, and my 6 year old daughter reading to my 3 year old and another preschooler. Although I complain about my son's lack of interaction with his friend I wasn't much better, sitting next to this other mom, talking a bit but mostly crocheting.
When we did talk it was mostly about crochet (which we were both learning, and I was hating), or parenting gifted kids. We talked about the similarities between her kid and mine, the differences, the difficulties and funny anecdotes.
After a while a friend of hers happened to come into the library and sat down to chat with her. And I noticed a little change in her. Maybe it was my imagination, but she seemed to gloss over what her kid was reading (and he was a fourth grader reading J.R.R. Tolkien, for fuck's sake), and the intensity he had in playing the board game he got for Christmas. My preschooler was starting to get restless and whiny, so I knew I had to be off quickly, so maybe if I had stayed longer those things would have come up. But I kind of wondered if her experiences are like mine, and with certain people she finds herself omitting, side-stepping, dredging up one anecdote about absent-mindedness for every story about her kid being bright. I wondered if that's why she's so eager to find other gifted kids and their parents...not because it's exclusionary or because she only wants her kid associating with bright kids, but because it's just easier not to have to monitor what you say.
I wonder how many parents have to do this. The parents of artists? The parents of athletes? Are we all sweeping the best of our kids' achievements under the rug? It seems like I hear a lot about my friends' kids' athletic achievements, but maybe I don't hear as much as they'd like to say.
I understanding not wanting to brag, but it's tiring to censor.