As a new mom, I started to dread those conversations, “Is your baby sitting up?” “Has your baby rolled over?” or the worst “Is he sleeping though the night yet?”. My stomach would knot up with when a mom casually mentioned, “Oh, my baby started sleeping through the night at 6 weeks.” I would quickly change the subject, rather than admit, “Well, my 6 month old wakes up 15 times every night.” (no exaggeration…I kept track for a while…I wasn’t even feeding him anymore, he just woke up and cried. Darn reflux).
I didn’t plan on getting sucked into the comparing game. I always thought, “Who cares when my baby crawls?” It didn’t help that I had several friends who had babies around the same time as me—it was natural to see what their babes were up to, then wonder, “My baby is nowhere near that…what’s wrong?” And those facebook updates about their baby crawling or walking…It was easy to think, “Congrats, you have super-baby. Thanks for making the rest of us feel lame.” (Sorry, that is so bratty. It's not like they were being rude at all; I was the one being super defensive.)
Another reason I got pulled into the comparing game was that Hayden had a really weak suck when he was born. It made nursing a nightmare—the poor babe was starving for the first week till I switched to pumping (ouch!) and bottle-feeding. He even had to go to weekly appointments with an Occupational Therapist to help his suck improve. Because of this, I always had this nagging worry in the back of my mind, “What if something is wrong with him? Will he have other developmental delays?” I became super concerned about every milestone and anxiously watched my son for each sign of progress. Every milestone he met brought me a little reassurance that he was going to be ok. Then I’d see another friend’s baby pass him up, and those nagging thoughts would start up again.
My babe sat up early, but in other areas, he was stubborn. And crawling? Oh boy. Every tummy time, son ground his face into the carpet, howling in despair. Haha…how could I not laugh!? “Seriously, son? Is it really THAT bad?” Poor little Puddin. So, there wasn’t much crawling progress. He liked it when we held his hands so he could stand up…but crawling? Forget about it.
Now, as Hayden approaches 9 months, I have chilled out a lot. Really. I babysit a little girl one month younger than Hayden who started crawling before she hit 6 months (I am serious.) and she will probably be tap-dancing and pole-vaulting before she hits a year. From watching her, I have realized, that girlie wants to move! It’s part of her personality. She’s constantly on the go, rolling around the room and then crawling around the room, never pausing. My son sits there, just watching her. I can see that he just doesn’t care to move around like that. I believe that’s a huge factor that determines when a baby hits milestones: how much they care about figuring out that next step! Girlie wants it, Hayden doesn’t. It’s not an indicator of anything besides their desires.
After watching girlie and talking to many moms, I have concluded: Babies are all different. Super profound, huh? But really, some babies may crawl early, others may talk early, one baby is highly driven to walk, and another just wants to chill. It doesn’t mean that there is anything wrong with any of these babies. Also, all parents are proud of that first clumsy crawl or wobbly step. Of course they want to share it with the world! They aren’t trying to be braggy or mean. (and if they are, who cares?) I think it is just conversation--what moms talk about. They probably were never trying to make me feel bad, and it was me who needed to chill.
Milestones are good things. Paying attention to them can help a parent know if their baby needs extra help. However, lets all keep in mind that “The Baby Olympics” don’t need to stress us out. Especially us first time mommas. Learn from my mistake and relax! It’s gonna be ok. Pretty soon, my babe will be yanking all the books off my shelves and crawling on top of my dresser to try flying like Superman. That’s the day I will think, “Can you please go back to laying on the ground like a little lump?”
|MOM! Stop kissing on me!|
For now, I’ll just continue putting him on his tummy, and he can continue baby-cussing me out every time. He may never win a gold for the first to crawl or first to walk, but he is stinking cute and I love him and I give him a gold medal! (Awwwww...I win the cheeser mom award. Is there a gold medal for that?)
How about you? Have you felt "The Baby Olympic" pressure? And…please tell me I am not the only mom whose child will crawl for the first time at 4 years old.