Milestone Madness by Molly Pitts

By the time my oldest daughter was born, I had done my research on babies. I read books, magazine articles, internet stories, and I even watched TV shows about babies. I knew exactly when she would smile, grasp an object, move an object from hand to hand, laugh out loud, etc. When that first smile came right on time I was so excited, then all I could think of was the next milestone. “Will she laugh out loud today?”  Every time she reached a milestone, I wanted the next one to come sooner. Betty did most everything right on time–Except walking. She was a speed crawler, could get around anywhere she wanted, and could pull herself onto pretty much anything. But, she was past the “normal” time to walk, and I wanted it to happen! She finally took her first steps at 14 1/2 months and never looked back.

Aster, my second daughter, is from Ethiopia so it was an entirely different situation. Ethiopian babies are supposedly known to develop slower than American babies, and then catch up super fast and surpass them for a while. Then it all evens out. Well, Aster came home at 6 months and basically had Jello legs. She could lay on her back and tummy, but could put no pressure on her legs. After lots of work and proper nutrition, she was sitting up by 9 months and crawling by 10 months. I didn’t care as much about the milestones with her, but still, now that she crawled, it was on. I couldn’t wait for her to walk. We practiced, but she was not interested. On her first birthday, I set her down to go get something and she stood up and walked. Wow, didn’t expect that. I guess they are ready when they are ready!

When Gertie was born, I was so relaxed and could care less about any milestones, just as long as she was healthy. She has smiled, laughed, sat up, played with toys, cooed, said her “first (not really) words”, and has yet to roll over. Gertie is 9 months old and this time around I’m OK with it. I have worked on rolling over with her, but she gets scared when she does it. She also doesn’t crawl and I don’t think she’s even close. Maybe part of the problem is her girth and her big head ;) (see picture above).

I have some friends right now who are first time moms going through this milestone madness. I’m so glad I’m not in their shoes right now. It is stressful enough being a mom for the first time and figuring everything out. But, when you have friends, books, and articles telling you exactly when your baby should be doing things, you start to worry. And that is the last thing a new mom needs!!

When I get stressed out about these little things in life, I always think back to a story my sister told me about her daughter. So, for all the new moms AND the seasoned veterans, I will leave you with this story:

Jill was helping out in her daughter Lucy’s Kindergarten class. Each week she would bring one child at a time out to the hall and help them with reading. Whenever it was Lucy’s turn to go out, Jill noticed that Lucy was way behind the rest of her class with her reading skills. Jill was concerned and talked to the teacher about it. The teacher said, “When was Lucy potty trained?” Jill thought, “Hmmmm, maybe 2 1/2”. The teacher replied, “No, what was the EXACT date that she was potty trained?” Jill thought again, “Oh, I have no idea what the exact date was.” That’s when the teacher answered, “Exactly, it doesn’t matter. She WILL read soon.”

*Sunday’s Post is a Hot Topic: Body Image, Self-Esteem, and the Media

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Joe Mosolino
    Feb 18, 2011 @ 15:11:43

    Perfect article, made me smile with similar remembrances—Laurie & I had three….we read the same books, I’m sure! We did the same with the oldest—-who I think we have made neurotic because of all the “literature”….and the youngest inhereted the jackpot of “laisse faire parenting–heavy on the love”…..what we would do over could fill a page….Thanks for the article!

    Reply

  2. Jenn
    Feb 20, 2011 @ 16:14:25

    Great article :)
    I read all the info about milestones, and certainly used them as guidelines and an idea of what was coming next, but I don’t remember being stressed about it even with my first.
    Now, with my second I am actually a little more concerned because at 16 months she’s not talking at all (she does have a couple of words though), and her sister was using complete sentences at 18 months. But still, my general feeling is that she will do what she wants, when she wants, and everything will be fine. I wish she’d followed her sister’s example and not walked until 16 months – so much easier to keep up with then!
    I just try to remind myself that I have enough to worry about without freaking out over milestones that are really kind of arbitrary in the first place.

    Reply

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