While I know all parents have different goals for their child and for how they parent, all are united by one fact: they want to impress strangers with their child’s abilities. To help with that, I offer my guide to making your baby impressive. The following techniques require decent fine motor skills and an ability to say words, so if your child is too young for that and is ugly to boot, there is nothing I can do for you.
One strategy is to make your child seem smart. When they are young and have not yet destroyed their brains with TV and underage drinking, they have prodigious memories. Work with them until they can say their ABCs. Sing the alphabet song to them repeatedly until they have memorized letters. This makes your baby sound smart without requiring him or her to actually be smart. For bonus points, teach them to recite the alphabet backwards.
Similarly, teach them numbers. Count with them in the bath, when in the car, and every other chance you have. They don’t have to be able to count; they merely need to be able to recite the numbers. For bonus points, teach them to pick out individual letters and numbers. Remember: you’re not teaching them things, you’re working on rote memorization.
Another strategy is to have your child say cute and surprising things. Take a common question and put a spin on it. Any drooling teething child can say that a cow says moo. How many of them will say “Arr!” when asked what a pirate says? When singing Old MacDonald’s Farm to them, don’t introduce cows and sheep. On Eli’s Farm, he had an alpaca. Or a capybara. Chinchillas are good, as are lemurs. Really, though, why stop with animals? And on that farm he had a pulse crop, E I E I O.
Introduce rituals that children don’t usually know. Teach your kid to pick up her sippy cup and tap it against someone else’s glass while saying, “CHEERS!” Don’t teach your kid to give you five; teach him about respect knuckles. The best part of these behaviors is that your child will demonstrate them spontaneously. “How cute!” another parent will say before they can stop themselves, and now you have the perfect opening to have your child perform like a baby Mozart, only without the patronage or royalty.
If you follow these steps, soon your child will make other parents grind their teeth in frustration before running home and throwing their money at LeapFrog toys.