And the gold goes to…

February 9, 2009 at 9:51 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 17 Comments

When we were trying to get pregnant, and failing, I’d look at the people around me and see them conceive with nary a struggle. And always, I used to wonder.

How do they make it look so easy?

Granted, I knew it wasn’t a competition. But early on, before the fear took away almost all of my hope, I used to compare myself to others and wonder why I was failing at it when others would succeed. Like I wasn’t working hard enough, or doing the right things.

Or something.

And now that I’m a parent, well, it’s REALLY hard not to compare. Baby O is just crawling, and he’s, you know, almost 11 months old. He’s only JUST starting to pull himself up, and even then he prefers to fuss until J or I stands him up because he can’t quite manage it himself.

There are kids his age who are WALKING already.

When I first started noticing that I was comparing Baby O to others, I told myself to stop. I consciously stopped noticing what other kids did and how old they were and kept telling myself that as long as he was happy and healthy and the pediatrician didn’t mention that he was behind in anything, we were doing a good job.

It’s getting harder lately for some reason. I have no idea why. Maybe it’s because I have friends who have babies who are younger than Baby O and are more physically advanced. Maybe it’s because I’m sensitive to it right now. Maybe because En.famil sent that STUPID “your baby’s first year” chart and by month nine it said he should be cruising. When, you know, he wasn’t even crawling yet.

Either way, I keep talking myself into a rathole of comparing Baby O with others.

Truth is, Baby O is FINE. At his nine month appointment, the pediatrician told me that crawling isn’t even a developmental milestone. He’s saying a couple words (and babbling the rest), and pointing, and waving, and splashing in the bath. He likes to stand. He can go from his belly into a sitting position and from sitting to his belly without completely falling on his face. He mostly feeds himself now because otherwise he gets bored. He presses buttons, and opens and shuts our sliding door on our entertainment center, and plays with the latches on the drawers in the kitchen.

I think it’s hard to be a mom nowadays without worrying how your kid is doing, developmentally. There seems to be so much pressure to make sure that your kid excels in EVERYTHING so he will succeed. He needs to read before he goes to kindergarten. He needs to be first in everything.

And that’s something I really need to fight against; to let Baby O grow up in his own way, to provide a good fodder for learning for him without PUSHING him too much too soon.

But at the same time. Would I KNOW if he were behind?

Just something I’ve been thinking about over the past couple of weeks. Because I know that Baby O is thriving. Maybe he’s NOT the kid who’s focused on mastering the physical early on. Maybe he’s the type of kid who will sit back and learn how to talk sooner. Or maybe he won’t, and he’ll develop NORMALLY like the rest of the world does.

All I know is that it’s NOT a competition. It wasn’t when we were infertile and trying to conceive.

And it isn’t now.

Something I need to keep working on, I suppose.

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  1. My daughter was a late babbler and I was mildly worried and my friend who has her PhD in speech pathology gave me some awesome insight. Babies can only work on either gross motor skills or fine motor skills at one time. So if they are working on one they table the other. For us, she was working on crawling and didn’t start babbling until after she mastered that. Sounds like O may be the other way around, working on some fine motor skills (e.g. speech) and putting more of the gross motor skills on the back burner. The other thing my friend said is that there is a WIDE range of normal.

    It’s funny because when they are babies those differences in developmental milestones with similarly aged peers seem huge, and then you just get to the point where everyone is at the same level and it doesn’t even occur to you who did it first or last. My daughter is now 20 months old (didn’t walk until 13 months) and now everyone in our playgroups is walking and climbing and pretty much doing the same things.

    I have a friend whose son has some muscle tone issues and he didn’t walk until he was about 19 months old and they still considered him just on the outer fringe of “normal” – his pediatrician and a neurologist said it was nothing to be overly worried about.

    Also, my daughter went from not doing something to doing it like overnight. She didn’t cruise, just started walking one day.

  2. This reminds me of the time we had Michael in Gymboree. He was bald, had no teeth and did not crawl or walk. There were kids his age walking, full head of hair and teeth. At one point, when we were feeling low, he sat there…and promptly fell over onto his back. And giggled like crazy. I had a gumless, hairless child, who was happy as all get out to watch the others. I was so envious of those kids. But, eventually, he went right from not crawling to walking. And the rest went together. Until potty training…which he was late for…ugh. Even now, even though I know better…I am “waiting” for Willow to get her teeth already! 🙂 We try, but I guess the base instinct is to want to make it a competition! 🙂

  3. My kid barely spoke two words in December, but was walking and climbing up a storm. He was 20 months. So yeah, I believe that they work on one skill set and table some others depending on their interests. Right now he ignores toys completely and just wants to scribble (all.day.long): no play all scribble. I just go with it.

    In the States you have all kinds of resources if you want to avail yourself, but if your doctors are happy it would be more for you than for your kid’s development. I’ll tell you, after three hours of scribbling with David I’d be happy to consider any intervention an activity just for some change! Can’t wait for summer and water play on the balcony!

  4. My daughter wasn’t sitting up by her first birthday and my Dr. was worried. Then I got worried (but she caught up when she felt like it!). I found myself comparing where she was at to her brothers. I just try not to worry about it anymore!

    Good luck!

  5. Seriously, stop comparing. Its like comparing your boobs to mine or to hers, and then her friends and her sister etc, etc.

    Each child develops differently, trust me, they really do. He sounds more than on track to me, he’s doing just what baby D. is doing, no more, no less, just happens you met a kid or two his age that were doing more, note, I didn’t say more advanced, they’re not, they do more, or just differently.

    I know many babies who at 18 months werent walking at all and just about crawling and apparently thats normal too, so you see?

    xxx

  6. If it makes you feel any better, Baby A and Baby O sound like they’re doing very similar things. Baby A’s been ‘cruising’ for a while but *just* started army crawling and hasn’t pulled herself up yet. Sometimes I worry about her, but I myself was late with the motor skills and I like to think I turned out okay 🙂

    It seems like our kids are more focused on other things. I keep trying to remind myself that whatever she wants to do, and in whatever order, is just fine.

  7. It’s hard when you don’t want to get sucked into that vortex of comparisons, but you’re inevitably drawn in. I always reminded myself that all those stories I heard about kids doing things way faster than mine? It’s sort of a misrepresentation of what is really going on out there in other kids. Think about it: Who’s going to be more vocal…the mom whose kid walked at 9 months, or the one whose kid walked at 18 months? The one whose kid has 40 words at age 1, or the one whose kid didn’t talk at all until 16 months? So you hear all the stories and it makes it feel like that’s how ALL other kids are, but it’s just part of the real picture.

    I like this milestone chart recommended to me because it really captures the range of normal for milestones.

    http://www.dbpeds.org/milestones.html

    D

  8. Your pediatrician would likely tell you if there’s a problem. But you can get your kid evaluated by Early Intervention for free if you really think he’s delayed. Just calling your doctor’s office to get the phone number will probably reassure you that Baby O is fine.

  9. zZOMFG YES.

    ahem.

    I’m with ya.

  10. Serenity, I totally understand–comparing kids is the mom’s incessant game. But Baby O is so completely normal, and moreover, I’d say he’s advanced in some areas! The range of “normal” is HUGE. And like you said, he’s doing so many other things that you know he’s intelligent. My pediatrician’s son didn’t say more than 3 words until he was 3! THREE!! She never took him to a specialist because she was sure they’d diagnose him with autism, and she knew that wasn’t the case. Then age three rolled around and he started telling long, detailed stories with a huge vocabulary. Baby O will do everything in his own time. Now, Gracie did everything early. She walked at 8 months for crying out loud. The twins? Quite the different story!! They don’t even hold their heads that well at 4 months, while Grace was practically speaking latin by then. :o) So it will be hard for me not to play the comparison game too. I just have to remember that they all develop in their own sweet time. It’s true that there’s so much pressure these days. It didn’t used to be like that (so my mom says) and we all turned out fine. You’re doing great–you’re such a good mommy–and Baby O is fantastic. :o)

  11. I have four children. They each reached their milestones at very different times. One walked when he was 10 months, one at 15 months (looking at them now, I bet you couldn’t guess which was which). One got her first tooth when she was 11 months, the other when he was 7 months.
    My youngest son is 11 months old. He rolled over at 4 months, but he’s still doing the army-crawl and just recently started pulling himself up.
    Don’t compare. For yourself, for them. Trust your instincts, Baby O is better than fine.

  12. I’m sorry I’ve been lagging behind in reading. I am officially addicted to Facebook now and work is just chaotic. There is no “fun time” for me anymore. Which S*CKS!

    ok, so I am so with you!! And daycare doesn’t help. I mean I love that they get that stimulation and love and kisses and books read to them etc all day, and I love that they see other kids eating things and then (Miracle of miracles) they eat them, and they learned how to use a sippy cup there because me offering it at home was NOT getting the job done. Jacob is a walking machine since xmas, Gio is cruising but he could care LESS about walking. I compare them to each other too (since you know that is what moms of Twins do…UGH) and I have to stop myself all the time from saying things like “c’mon Gio, walk like Jacob” and then I stop myself and remind myself that they are TWO DIFFERENT PEOPLE, just like my sister and I are…it’s frustrating when you realize that despite all your best efforts you are still keeping score. It was a New Year’s Resolution for me that I am failing at miserably.

    Baby O is doing just great, he’s feeding himself. Jacob might be walking but he still wants to be spoon fed, he loves the bottle more than the sippy and forget table food, they still LOVE baby food. The only thing they consistantly like is mashed potatoes and I still need to suppliment with baby food. It’s always struggle..”what more can I do”, “what am I not doing” “Are they going to be as smart, fast, cute etc as other kids?” That’s just being a mom Serenity, or so I am learning.

    You are a FANTASTIC Mom, because you Ask these questions, you care enough about Baby O to want him to do things and learn and grow etc, he’ll get there…and he’ll knock your socks off with what he can do overnight (John always says that, as soon as I worry about something, they are doing it 3 days later…seemingly because I taunted the universe with worry) and he’s always amaze you …for the rest of his life.

    don’t worry, we’re all there, we’re just Moms…and that’s what we do.
    *HUG*

  13. I understand and am already struggling with the same issues. Colin is low in terms of birthweight and it worries me more than I want it to, even though he is still within normal. I think it is hard for us because we are such overachievers and have spent our lives comparing ourselves to others. It will be a life journey for me to learn how not to force my son into the same rut but at the same time help him to reach his potential.

    And, because I don’t know how to help you on this, I will tell you that I have read in various places that premies should be judged according to their due dates and not their birth dates.

    By the way, I LOVED your rant on Nadya. I am right there with you!!! You know what’s worse? A colleague of her Dr. said that stress can cause infertility on the Today show this morning. It’s amazing my tv is still in pristine condition. ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME!! I keep telling myself that something good will come from all of this coverage but it’s only to try to calm the angry beast within…

    XOXO

  14. Comparing… I think we all do it. it’s human nature to be competitive. I think it just hits us harder when it’s our children.

    I worry alot too: other kids have more hair, more teeth, eat more solids, drink from sippy cups… I could go on and on.

    It helps sometimes to step back and look at accomplishments, as you have done here. Sounds like there is nothing to worry about.

    And YES, I do believe that if something was WRONG you would KNOW.

  15. I feel for you because it is hard not to look at the kids at day care that are right around the same age as your own and wonder why they are doing something that your child isn’t. I’m sure the other moms look at my son and see things he is doing that theirs aren’t. I try to only let myself think about it while I’m there and then I move on. I think there are red flags for developmental delays and it doesn’t seem like Baby O has anyone of them.

    Comaprison is part of human nature – I think it is only a problem if you let it consume you. Baby O is doing fantastic!

  16. Hey K – I know what you mean. I tried very hard not to worry, but when Jasper was 17 months old (15 corrected) and only just started to walk (last in my mothers group) it was hard not to be weird, though i didn’t like myself for it.

    But I don’t know. he’s about to turn two now, and I seem to have relaxed about it all – there’s not so many “milestones” to meet anymore. And like others have said, he’s always been much further ahead with his speech and even fine motor skills like putting lego pieces together, that its like he was focussing on that instead of walking.

  17. Oh my goodness; it’s horrible, isn’t it? My nephew walked at 9 months! NINE. Lily didn’t walk until she was nearly 15 months. She just didn’t care to. She was a very late walker, but a very early talker. Those milestones are just guidelines.
    You’re not alone in your concern, though. I had no concept of my capacity to worry until I became a mother:)


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