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Katy England Katy England
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Apples and apples

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Everyone tells you not to compare your children to other children. Like that ever stopped anyone. We all do it. We want our kids to be geniuses and basically fly out of the womb walking and talking so we can show everyone what wonderful parents we are.

And the internet has brought all of this to a new level of obsession. Now, instead of just comparing your offspring to your neighbor or the other moms at the preschool, you get to pit your kid against the entire world. Holy crap.

This is insane for many reasons, not the least of which is what I opened this story with: You aren't supposed to compare kids. Everyone develops at a different rate, and it has little bearing on upbringing or intelligence (of the parents or the kids). The funny thing is, with triplets I can really see this playing out in ways many parents don't get to see.

Everyone gets the same bottles, the same mushy foods, the same naptimes and so forth. And we still get three dramatically different personalities and rates of developmental milestones. It's neat, but it's also nerve-wracking as a parent. You gave the stupidest thoughts. Like so:

Me (thinking): Oh, God, she's not picking up her Cheerios yet. Everyone else is picking up their Cheerios! Have I not hugged her enough? I didn't do enough peek-a-boo. Should I call the doctor? Grooooss! Don't eat my shoe.

Grandparents can see different shades of their kids in the new generation. My mom swears that one of the girls is my second incarnation. My sister agrees. Basically, we as parents are now reaping what we did to our parents as hellions. Every worry, every snarky comment, every unmade bed is coming back to haunt me in various forms. Some hauntings are grosser than others. I read in a parenting blog how you basically get to witness what it was like to learn all of this stuff while you were growing up in that hazy time before memories became somewhat permanent.

Every time I'm hitting a wall from exhaustion because the three of them won't nap on schedule, I swear I can hear my mom stifling laughter from three states away.

And really, don't compare your kids to other people's kids because as soon as you start getting too big for your britches because your little angel is walking or talking to has memorized the periodic table of elements faster than everyone else ever, they'll do something to make you eat some humble pie.

Like, you're thrilled when one of your kids first pulls into the standing position. It becomes somewhat less thrilling when she starts screaming because she can't figure out how to sit down. That jolt when you see those first few steps toddled, followed by an indescribable sense of ick when he decides to lick everything he can reach.

So don't compare. Because even when you compare apples to apples, you suddenly realize none of these apples are the same. And one of them just licked the bottom of your shoe. Gross, man. Gross.

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