It's tax time again, which means we have to gather up receipts, W2s, 1099s and reach out to our accountant to schedule a meetup. Before we started using an accountant, Jodi and I used to owe almost every year without fail. I'm not sure what we were doing wrong: maybe we didn't carry a 1 properly, or perhaps it was our annual claim that binge watching seasons of TV shows required us to donate much of our time to a "good cause" and we should be reimbursed for said time. I don't know about anyone else, but I feel like keeping up with all this good TV is like having another job. I hear the 401K at The Walking Dead isn't very good, but the perks at Mad Men are phenomenal.
At last year's tax meetup our accountant (henceforth known as 'S') grilled me for information about Olivia so that he could compare her to his son, who is 2 months younger. S is very competitive when it comes to his son, which I don't blame him for, but it seemed like he had to one-up everything I told him about our daughter. If she was 20 pounds, his son was 21. She's mumbling and trying to say a few words? His son is quoting Shakespeare. If she was just beginning to try and walk, his son was competing in that year's Tour de France.
So as you can imagine, I was a little uneasy when I reached out to S this year. Don't get me wrong, he's a nice guy, means well and does incredible tax wizardry for us. He can pull both a rabbit and a decent tax return out of his hat, and for that we are grateful. However in order to get that done I have to sit down for an hour long grilling about our child, what she can do and the things we've done for her so far. I bet he'd make a great judge on 'America's Next Top Parent.'
Our most recent meet-up went pretty much as expected: 45 minutes of grilling about Olivia and barely 10 to go over the tax stuff. Since we last met up a lot has changed for his son, and I learned the following about his little one:
- all of his teeth came in by 12 months
- while not fully talking, has a grasp of all the phonetics of the English alphabet, as well as an understanding of 2 dialects of a foreign langage
- can sit still and read books for an hour straight
- has a handlebar mustache and armpit hair
- is a part-time mathematics professor at a local community college
- took home the silver medal for toddler speed skating at the Sochi Olympics
I have to say, I was impressed with all the developments his son had over the past year. I think it's great to hear another parent talk proudly about their child and his/her accomplishments, and I hope his son goes on to do great things. He went on to tell me about all of the places he has taken his son to on the weekends: museums, parks and even a monster truck rally (I wish I made this one up). Clearly he's trying to expose his son to diverse amount of cultural experiences, and any kid who knows the difference between a truck and a sasquatch is aces in my book. I think that when tax time rolls around next year I'm going to have to go all in and do a little embellishing of my own to make it seem like Olivia can keep up with S's son. Some ideas I have so far include:
- she's already hit menopause
- volunteers on the weekends at an animal shelter to provide reading glasses to farsighted cats
- is a US ambassador to North Korea, and is a personal friend to Dennis Rodman and Kim Jong Un
- will be competing in the next Iditarod
- set a Guinness World Record for bossiness
In the end, I suppose all of this is a small price to pay to get our taxes done properly, but I'm just not that competitive about my child. I want her to succeed in life, but I also want her to enjoy it without worrying how she measures up to other people. I also don't want to fall into the trap of becoming a parent who wants nothing more than to prove how much better my kid is than yours, because who knows how much of that rubs off on the kid and turns them into an obnoxious, arrogant asshole. It's great if your kid has done all those things, or developed in certain ways, but don't rub it in my face and make me feel bad for not following the same blueprint as you. Right now I'm perfectly content with the amount of exposure our daughter has to the world, and my main goals are being there for her, encouraging her and also enjoying the person she's becoming. She's got an incredibly strong personality (sometimes for better, sometimes for worse) that I can't wait to see unleashed in the world. She can be sweet, cuddly, shy and last, but not least,...
...she makes me laugh my ass off.