When I shared the news with my daughter's "teachers" (that's what they're called at her child development lab school, and I don't put it in quotes because they're underqualified but because, come on, teachers? for infants?), they scoffed at it, eyes rolling, and agreed, "Luca could do all that," which redoubled my insecurity. Why did they say Luca and not Flea? Of course, their observations are accurate; Luca is this insanely verbal kid who was pointing to me and saying "Fia mama" at the age of 12 months. And he's bilingual. But still, why not my kid? Don't you people know how special she is?
This whole obsession is, obviously, a product of raging insecurity about my own basic value as a human being. The only thing I've had on my side my entire life is intelligence. I'm strange-looking (not ugly, but far from beautiful, at least by my own aesthetic standards); I don't come from wealthy or educated stock; I'm socially anxious; and I'm about as cuddly as a lizard. In short, I am not inherently lovable, the way a kitten or a pug is, or the way Michael Jackson used to be.
So I've found that I can be of value to people, pragmatically if not emotionally, by offering them the fruits of my mind. Not that I'm a genius (I would never take an IQ test because my whole self-concept would be riding on the outcome, which is way too much to risk), but I'm smart enough to come across as smart, which I cling to like an octopus with separation anxiety, to quote my pal Amy.
So here I am hoping that my daughter will exceed my intelligence so that, if she doesn't have the beauty or poise or talent or social contacts or charm that magically open doors, she can figure out a way to jimmy them open with her superior engineering skills.
That's not too much pressure for a toddler, is it? Is it? Seriously, somebody shake me. Before I start enrolling her in pageants.