As single, children-free folk (and even as married children-free folk), we all laugh at those bumper stickers that say something about someone's kid's good grades at ABC Middle School. We laugh because it seems so cheesy to put such a sticker on your car, and, remembering back to your own middle school days, the LAST thing you wanted your parents to do was to advertise your nerdy good grades on the car they drove you all over town in.
But when we have children, suddenly bragging is as natural as breathing. At least it is for my husband. I try to remain humble, quietly admiring how beautiful our little girl is, marvelling at how smart she is and how well she listens to us, and grinning whenever she tries something new. Sure, I notice that she is doing the same things that older kids in her class can't do yet. But I keep it to myself... like a nifty little secret.
My husband, however, would tattoo it across his forehead if he could. And I need to push a point here... it's not annoying at all to me. Instead, it warms me all over, listening to him fawn over her.
He always asks other parents in restaurants how old their baby is, knowing that Athena is probably younger and taller, just so he can say, "Really? My daughter is only 16 months! She's really big, isn't she?!" And he constantly sizes up Athena's classmates in school, noting how much more advanced she is compared to various children older than her. And he compares her temperament to others' as well. Athena, despite clearly having a very bad temper, is generally a very mild girl and treats others fairly well. (She does pull the cat's tail... we're working on that.)
There is nothing better than to see a father dote on his child. So where normally, bragging would set me on edge and drive me crazy, I find myself smiling and beaming with pride whenever he alludes to Athena being better than some other child. I can't help myself. After all, she gets all that good stuff from me... :-)