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.
I was so quick to overreact too! I even kept a poop & pee log for the first 2 weeks of his life!
Hahaha I think I did too Cheryl!!
Tammi @ My Organized Chaos
I tracked everything with my first! Then, I think I might have tracked one day with the twins and then threw it out the window. So funny! And, great tips, especially the comparison one – never do that!
Indeed! You’d think having twins you’d have double the obsessing, but so happy you didn’t!
What a beautiful photo! He was so tiny :-)
I can imagine I will be EXACTLY like you if I am blessed to have children one day! I am very much a planner, list maker and worrier :-)
It’s definitely a reality with your first child – I think even those women who always throw caution to the wind turn into worriers :) But, I have no doubt you will be a fabulous mom!
That’s a great picture! I already know that I’m going to be compelled to track everything when I have kids — hopefully my partner will keep me sane and grounded.
Yes, that is definitely one of the most popular roles with dads – keeping moms in check! You’ll be wonderful, Victoria!
beautiful photo.. I’m sure we all, as moms, over react at the beginning! I know I did!
Yes, we all do Anne!
Lisa Fraser Thornbury
Well said. I actually had to get rid of my copy of “What to Expect: The First Year”. Missed milestones made me nuts. Instead, we followed our own book called, “Wow, We Never Expected THAT But It’s Okay and Our Daughter Is Perfect Just The Way She Is.” Kind of a long title. ;)
I love your new book title, Lisa. Describes every child perfectly :)
Darn those expert books and milestones. I was so distraught because my first born never napped more than 20 minutes – and if he napped – it had to be while you held him. I read somewhere if they’re not getting proper sleep, its as bad as not feeding them, and if they weren’t napping for more than 20 minutes, they might as well not have napped. I kept thinking what is wrong with me that I can’t get this babe to nap??!! I spent waaayyy to much time just trying to get him to sleep – turns out he just isn’t wired to sleep much – still doesn’t to this day.
So interesting. See? That’s why measuring milestones and “norms” – although helpful – sometimes suck :(
I’m not really an overreacter and try not to read too much into the scary things I find on the internet….however my DD6 was recently diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and I have to say there may have been a moment or 2 I over reacted to what could happen down the line without treatment (insert a bawling momma here). With the bit we’ve done so far, I already see some differences in her and how she handles things.
Aw… hugs to you Nancy! My 4 yo has an anxiety disorder, and I may have had some of the same thoughts you did. Happy she’s coming along…
lol, i was (am.) a huge overreacter. our little girl is nearly 4 months and I am DREADING her getting teeth. any strange cry or unusual fussiness and I’m all “NOOOO. THEY’RE HERE.” still nothing emerging but she is now actually getting red cheekies and the whole ‘chew on everything and drool all over’.
Is it weird that I miss the drool-all-over stage?? Enjoy it, they grow up so quickly!