So the other day I was in a situation where the Beast decided to come out and play. I was in Addition-Elle with my best friend, and my 20-month old daughter. My Bestie was shopping for some clothes, and I was paying attention to my daughter who was checking herself out in the mirror. I happened to look up in a half daze and I saw someone I haven’t seen since my baby was 2 months old. I gave her a huge smile and we started to catch up.
Now let’s just back up a little to explain how I know her. I met her and her husband when we were taking the “Talk with Me” course, which is one of the prenatal courses you are supposed to take before giving birth. I was due beginning of November and she was due late November/early December. We hit it off right away in that class. What sucked about this though was she told me she was moving to Ontario in a few months.
Well when I was induced to have my daughter because of my gestational diabetes (Another story for another time) I was walking through the halls waiting for my contractions to start, and there she was with her husband. So I strutted over in my hospital gown outfit and my IV pole (which was my new buddy) and asked her how was things. She told me that she just had her little dude the day before – making him a month early and that mommy and baby were doing fine. After I went through my labour and delivery I found out they had the room right next to mine, so we would stop by for little visits and show off our babies.
Now two months later would bring us to January. My husband and I were at the mall with our baby and we saw her again. Her little guy was so precious. Now remember – he is a preemie. In my mind my baby should have been meeting her milestones first. Yes I am aware this was not a competition. This was just what I read from the websites, and the books. And my anxiety issue REALLLLLLLLLYYYY did not help this situation. I was and still am constantly worried if she is developing correctly.
At 2 months there are 3 sets of skill categories. Mastered – Most can do it. Emerging – about half can. Advanced – a few can do it. Our Baby was mostly emerging, except she did not start to smile until 3 months. Little dude… He was advanced. I mean like WOW. He could hold his head like a pro, bear his weight on his legs like nobody’s business, lift his head for mini push ups, and was even starting to creep. He was all sorts of impressive. And to top it off he was able to be breastfed, which didn’t work out for me and my daughter. To sum up pretty much this little guy a baby born 30 days before he was due… well he was frankly kicking my baby’s ass.
Again I know this is not a competition… I know that my daughter is happy, healthy, loved, and developing exactly as she should be. But when the Beast has you by the throat you are not listening to reason.
Now they ended up moving to Ontario and we kept in touch through Facebook. I was looking at her news feed and there was little dude starting to walk at 10 months when Baby girl was just learning to pull herself up. Then there he was strutting his cute little stuff all over the park. Again I was panicking because I thought something might be wrong because she was not walking yet. I can tell you that my amazing daughter started to walk on her own at 15 months, and has mastered the skill… so much energy wasted on worrying…
A few months ago they all moved back to Moncton. Fast forward to present day and I was happy to see her and catch up. She told me everyone was doing well and that little dude was about as tall as baby girl. She asked me about her 18 month needles (to sum up… needles, and the following 2-3 weeks after suck hard). I asked her about his 18 month evaluation (That was not a good experience for me). She told me little dude has to go to speech therapy. I told her that I was told that too, but my doctor thinks she is exactly where she needs to be talking wise. Baby girl jabbers a lot… and I mean a lot. Some real words, some she uses that mean real words… the rest I think she just likes to hear her own voice… come to find out little dude was not talking at all and only said his first real word a few days ago. I told her about baby girl’s walking and since the Beast was in control, I expected her to tell me all the awesome things little dude could do that baby girl could not. What happened next is not at all what I expected her to say. She totally word slapped me straight to the face. She said “This just shows how every child develops at their own pace and it will all come together in the end.” I am pretty sure I paraphrased a touch, but that’s what the basic meaning behind the whole thing was.
That sentence inspired today’s blog. That sentence helped me grab a shield and sword to protect myself from the Beast. I wasted 20 months of time worrying that baby girl was not developing correctly. I wasted so much energy on this. When Baby girl and little dude are both in their teens no one will say “Oh little dude you had to go to speech therapy” or “Oh baby girl you can totally tell you only started to walk at 15 months”. They are both perfect and exactly where they need to be at this time. Everyone has things they are better at than others – and you know what? That’s 100% ok. There is no need to worry that one is falling behind. There is definitely no competition.
This is not to say if you notice something very wrong, that you bury your head in the sand and completely ignore it. That is not what I am saying at all. What I am saying, is that if there is a time frame to learn a new skill (for example learning/starting to walk) that anywhere from 9-18 months is completely normal, and if your baby is not doing it when you “think” she should… well that’s when you need to educate yourself and trust that everything is ok. Now, if it’s over the timeframe and it is still not happening, then yes – That is a red flag. That is something that needs attention and possible intervention.
In the end, I am so thankful I caught up with her that day. My eyes were opened. I had a blind spot removed. I received a new tool for my tool box and I was able to wound the Beast just a little more – showing that the Beast cannot control me about this issue like it once did.