Milestones. Why do we do this to ourselves, mamas? We get these lists: from pediatricians, from books, from the internet, from our friends. And we start checking off all the things our little darlings can do. We get anxious about the things they AREN’T doing in their own age category, and we beam with pride about the things they ARE doing in the next age category up. I think it’s worse with subsequent children – my friends who are on baby #2 or #3 now have a whole new yardstick with which to measure those infant milestones: big brother or big sister.
I do it, too, so I know from whence I speak. NewDotBaby is 7.5 months old, and he’s doing a lot of things “early”: has 4 teeth and working on the 5th; crawling (in his own unique way, but still) all over the place, faster than seems possible; pulling up from sitting to hang onto the coffee table; taking a few hesitant cruising steps with one hand on the furniture. The thing is, for this very verbal new mommy, I want him to TALK! Babble!
I have a friend with a son 5 weeks older than NDB, and another friend with a daughter 5 weeks younger than NDB. Both of those babies are babbling a steady stream of “mamamamama” and “babbabababababa” and “daadadadadadada”. We hear a lot of noise in the NewDotHousehold, but it can’t really be called true babbling. It’s more like “aaaaawoooooGEEaaaaa, buh-aaaaaAAAAeeeeeyooo”. He uses a lot of inflection and facial expression and he seems to think we ALL speak like the Sims, but of course it’s all gibberish to these adult ears.
So, here I am, noticing all that my baby can and can’t do. I *want* to just relax, let him develop in his own way at his own speed. I believe in my heart of hearts that all healthy children will eventually check all those things off the lists – I mean, we’re all walking, talking, and pottying by the time we start high school, right? 😉 I was a teacher for five years before NDB came along, and I know that all those differences in mobility, teething, and vocalizing basically even out by kindergarten. I know that the real red flags and warning signs of developmental problems are important to screen for – and I know that we have seen none of those with NDB.
But what is it about the irrationality of parenthood that makes all that logical thought garner less weight than my own emotions and desires for NDB to excel and exceed? It doesn’t help that my mother insists I was walking independently at 9 months and speaking in 2-word sentences at 10 months. To balance, NewDotDad was apparently a vegetable for his first 14 months of life and couldn’t be bothered to speak until his first birthday. I’d say NDB has a good chance for being a totally normal, middle-of-the-road child, developmentally speaking. Now if NewDotMom can just wrap her head around that and let GO.