By NICK CHILES
Hearing Beyonce gleefully tell Oprah about the brilliance of her baby girl Blue Ivy reminded me of the heady, joyous days of new parenthood, when everything your child does is an occasion for celebration and you are absolutely convinced that your baby is a genius.
“She is hilarious and she is fire. Lord, am I going to have me a time!” Bey said of her and Jay-Z’s 13-month-old little one. “She’s very smart. She’s already reading flashcards. She’s beautiful.”
This is the way we are all supposed to feel about our babies. They should all be special and wonderful and beautiful and brilliant in the eyes of their parents. After all, if your parents aren’t going to believe in your specialness, who will?
I’m transported back to the day when Denene and I were introduced to the headspinning brilliance of our youngest, Lila. At the time she was the same age as Blue Ivy, about 13-months-old. She did make noises, somewhat sparingly, but she was not talking yet. Before children start talking, much of what goes on in their little heads is a mystery, even to their parents. On this particular morning, we were getting dressed for church, so Denene had it in her mind that the perfect complement to Lila’s dress were the red patent-leather-and-snakeskin Mary Janes.
But instead of retrieving the shoe herself, Denene had an idea.
“Lila. Go to your closet and get your red shoe,” she said to the little one.
Lila, who had just started walking on her own a month earlier—in fact, on the day of her first birthday—gathered herself and toddled her way into her room. In her closet was a literal mountain of shoes, at least 20 pairs. Thrown haphazardly on top of each other. We were shocked when Lila returned to our bedroom, grinning brightly, carrying one of the red shoes in her tiny hand.
Just to be sure it wasn’t some type of fluke, I said, “Lila, go get the other red shoe.”
I followed her this time, watched her reach deep into the mountain of shoes and pull out the other red shoe.
Denene and I looked at each other, eyes wide as proverbial saucers. Hot damnit, our baby is a genius!
A decade later, I’m pleased to say that those early signs of brilliance turned out to be prophetic. The girl has an impressively nimble, creative, remarkable mind.
I can relate to Beyonce’s expressions of delight about the lovely new life in her and Jay’s world. Watching a baby grow and develop and start walking and talking and forming a personality have to be some of the most joyous moments we can experience. It’s beautifully human.
“My daughter introduced me to myself,” Beyonce said. “Motherhood made everything make sense.”
I feel you, Bey.
1. Beyonce Calls Rumors She Used Surrogate with Blue Ivy ‘Very Odd’
2. Beyonce Reveals Pain of Her Miscarriage
3. Beyonce, Jay-Z Take Blue Ivy To Paris: the Beauty Of Showing Kids the World
4. Beyonce’s First Time Out With Blue Ivy Carter: Remembering the Newborn In Public Jitters
Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.