Okay, I know we all want the best for our kids, and it’s only natural to want to give your child every advantage you possibly can, but please — no matter what the experts are saying — stop trying to teach your fetus to read.
Gestation is a time for cell division and lung development, not academics. It used to be that we let our fetuses relax and play, swim, grow, kick. Now, we’re demanding they learn skills they just aren’t ready for — like breathing on their own, reading, calculus.
For years, we’ve heard that kindergarten is the new first grade, so it follows that the new kindergarten is the second trimester. But I’m telling you, no matter what the other parents in birthing class are doing, it’s too soon for worksheets and activity books.
Look, we all know parents-to-be who are cutting up flash cards into tiny pieces, chewing and swallowing them, and hoping that some of the bits pass into the amniotic sac to start their embryos off on the right foot bud.
And we all know women who’ve undergone procedures to have symbols and letters etched onto their uterine walls so that as soon as the eyes are sufficiently developed, there’s some mental stimulation going on in there.
But you don’t have to get caught up in all of it.
Sure, anyone would love to have their baby come out reading the name tag on the obstetrician’s lab coat and converting their own weight from pounds and ounces to grams, but choosing not to have a Lil’ Speller Phonics Station implanted in your womb doesn’t mean your baby won’t eventually catch up.
He will, probably.
And he might still get into a perfectly fine college, and get a decent job, be able to live on his own, have a meaningful, if ordinary, life. Not everyone is destined for greatness, of course.
Stop worrying. Let your kid crawl around in the sandbox, eat crayons, fall on his head a few times. There’s too much pressure these days anyway. Someone has to be below average for the stars to truly shine. You don’t need to teach kids anything, really. They pick things up on their own. Like dirt, and diphtheria.
So stop trying to teach your fetus to read, because if your fetus learns to read too, then my fetus will stop seeming so special. And he needs to be special in order to justify my existence. Please. I’m begging you.
(But if you really do want to teach your fetus to read, and nothing I say is going to dissuade you, I’m also selling my Fetus Reader kit for $199.95, complete with flash cards tiny enough to pass through the placental blood barrier and a daily multivitamin enriched with extra phonemes. Shipping and handling extra. No refunds.)