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Neil Swidley’s Boston Globe essay, “Rush, Little Baby,” is a fascinating report from the front lines of the baby wars. No longer is it enough to require your preteen to write three drafts of her her college entrance essays before she goes out to the mall. If you want her to get into Harvard, she better be reading by ten—months, that is. One of the new crop of average students, Morgan, first read at 13 months—or so says her mother, who

was pushing her cart down the aisle in the supermarket when Morgan pointed to a box and said “Ball!” Anderson turned to see what her 1-year-old daughter was pointing to. The only evidence of the box’s contents was the word printed in red letters on the side. Balls. Anderson could hardly believe it. She rewarded Morgan by buying her one.

Morgan was a late bloomer, but not for her parents’ lack of trying. When she was an infant, she was enclosed in a crawling track that allowed her to roam free while her parents slept, which helped her to walk at 10 months and thereby make her physically superb, able to wear a pedometer and walk faster than 2 miles per hour. At 3 months Morgan’s mother began drilling her with flashcards in math and reading, and we already know the results of that. Morgan, now nearly three, can pick the Mona Lisa, Aristotle, and Erasmus in a lineup—something I can’t even do (Damn you, Erasmus!).

If I’m correct in seeing Morgan’s late reading as evidence of mild retardation, then I’m in awe at what the average baby in this new American generation of Überkinder can do. Parents, be on the lookout for these shining stars. And when your own dullards cannot compare to these stars’ brilliance, be ashamed. After all, you’re the ones who were too concerned with diapers to bother with flashcards. If your children are slow, it’s your own fault.

This guy is teaching his baby the quadratic equation. Take that, algebra!



wow…and I thought Viv wasn’t too terribly behind in waiting till 12 months to crawl and 15 (and counting) to think about pulling up.
This post reminds me of an argument Rose and I had recently about whether she was smarter than me. It was the end of the day, I was exhausted, and I was becoming increasingly incensed by her claims (“You are NOT smarter than me!”—did I really say this?), when she paused and said, “Mama, what does ‘smart’ mean?”

I’m sure the fact that “smart” is really hard to define didn’t make it easier. What did you say?

Also: Rose sounds quite contentious!

This sounds like a conversation that Evan and I might have in a few short months… and, no, despite being almost 3, she does not read…

At Viv’s checkup yesterday I learned, to my chagrin, that in fact she is pretty behind developmentally. Then I went to the local parenting center today and the early childhood specialist said, “Why are you worried about what that doctor said? That clinic doesn’t even support breastfeeding!”
To the “smart” question, I barely remember my response, I was so surprised and (surprisingly) charmed. She IS contentious, but so are her parents.