When Ryder first arrived almost five years ago, I did what every new mother does.
I obsessed about sleeping, pooping, feeding, changing, bathing, swaddling and the like. I obsessed over what my baby was doing, not doing, watching, feeling… you name it, I Googled it.
(You too? High five, sister.)
It didn’t end there. Shortly after he was born, I was introduced to one of the most feared words known to parents around the world: “Milestone”. Although seemingly harmless, the word is loaded with meaning. It can invoke joy, paranoia – even downright depression – depending on how your child fares against the perception of when a milestone “should” be met. And so I spent too much time fretting over why Ryder couldn’t point by the age of 6 months, or join two words by 15 months… which I now realize was terribly unproductive behaviour. Looking back, I should have spent my time celebrating the quirky, lively, healthy little baby who was already growing too quickly, and trusted that I would have recognized if there was something to be truly concerned about. Today, at almost 5 years old, he’s completely ordinary – and extraordinary – in so many ways, regardless of what the ol’ milestone chart says.
You can say I overreacted about a few things. Okay, everything.
When Reid joined the family two years later, I was ready for him. And I was ready to monitor his progress, trust my intuition and go on with my day. You see, I’m not suggesting we stop measuring milestones completely, because it’s very important to have a sense of typical child development, especially if it’s your first little one. But please, don’t be so hard on yourself – or your baby – if you find gray areas amongst the black and white.
(P.S. Reid – can you go back to being 8 days old, if only for a moment? It’s hard to believe that daddy could once hold you in his hands. I miss those fresh baby days. Photography: Sharon Navarro Photography.)
Of course, if you still find yourself overreacting to the different milestones, here’s a little help:
1. Back away from the computer. Frantically searching the Internet based on fear is the path to the dark side.
2. Stop comparing your baby to others. “There is no indication that minor variations in the achievement of milestones have any relationship to later abilities or disabilities.” (Parenting Magazine).
3. Seek help from your pediatrician if you need reassurance. But you’ll know when there’s something to be concerned about. Trust me.
This year, I wish you and your family a multitude of happy milestones, and less overreacting!
You too can share your “OVER” moments by uploading a photo and caption during Fisher-Price’s A Million Moments of Joy campaign. Parents who share their moments will be entered for a chance to win a weekly prize packs (valued at ~$200), including:
- My Little Snugabunny Bouncer ($89.99 CAD)
- Laugh & Learn Dance & Play Puppy ($59.99 CAD)
- Ocean Wonders Aquarium ($54.99 CAD)
The contest will run from March 5, 2013 to April 19th, 2013. Tell me, what is your “OVER” moment this month?
I am part of the Fisher-Price Play Ambassador program and I receive perks as part of my affiliation.
The opinions on this blog are my own.