My husband and I marveled at [our older daughter's] exceptional development and obvious intelligence. And I think we marveled a bit at ourselves: good parenting, great DNA. Let's do this again, we decided.
Here comes Frances. Or, more aptly, there she sits. Our fifteen-month-old. Not walking. Barely standing on her own. Just perched on her haunches, clapping at a pair of strappy Weeboks still tagged and in the box. Frances has one word: "hot!" It means "scalding coffee," sure, but it also means "touch," "look," "hey!" "can I have that?" "duck," "light," and "ceiling." Friends' children, younger than Frances, say words and perform physical feats that might as well be sonnets and high-flying acrobatics compared to my girl. A boy in the neighborhood, born four months after her — which in baby time is like Gen Y to Frances's Gen X — runs circles around her. Literally. What does Frances do? She sits in the middle of the floor, pointing at him, saying, "hot, hot, hot!" She's a chubby-kneed Paris Hilton.
CRINGE. We hope Frances never reads this! Assuming she ever learns how to read, that is.