I clearly remember taking my little man to the Zoo for the first time. We didn’t make it to storytime earlier that week and I was getting sick of being cooped up in the house. As a SAHM with a
tight limited budget I always try to conserve what I use so that my hubs has the gas to get to work during the week. With that being said I was soooooo ready to get out of the house, but also give my little man something stimulating and educational to enjoy. So off to the zoo we went. We had such a blast and he loved every minute of it until I had to drag him out of the Zoo crying. You’d think that this is a cute story about our first time at the zoo, but it’s really about my little man literally figuring out his mad skills at walking. Actually it’s about his milestones and the fact that all babies/kids hit their milestones at different rates. Anyway, he’d been taking steps here and there. Kinda “walking” around the house and loved walking while his hands were being held, but he hadn’t quite reached that point where he was ready to take off w/o mom right next to him. The zoo however was his shot. It was an oasis of space! Which we don’t have much of in the house. He was having a blast taking off without me and walking. It was awkward for me to push a stroller while trying to catch up to my 14 month old but fun to watch. Did I mention I had just purchased Squeakers for him to wear? Best. Thing. Ever. Especially when your toddling toddler decides this is the day I shall be FREEEEEEEE!
So anywho we’re walking all over the zoo and I hear, “Oh he’s so cute”, “His shoes squeak”, “Adorable”. All these things are so true as he is the cutest thing EVER! He squeaks over to the Tiger exhibit and there happens to be a couple with a toddler about the same age as my little man. She starts pointing and telling her husband that his shoes squeak. Then she asks me how old my little guy is and I say 14 months. Then I see “the look” sweep across her face. She says, “my son is the same age and he isn’t walking yet”. I’ve seen this “look”. I’ve had this “look” before. The look of but my son/daughter is the same age or older and they aren’t doing that yet. Here’s where I felt the need to reassure her that her son would be walking in no time at all. This is where I wanted to freeze time so I could gather myself and say something so poignant and significant that she will never worry that her son isn’t as “advanced” as other toddlers his age. Or perhaps what their mothers make them appear to be. However, with my speed racer son high tailing it away from me I could only sputter out a few insignificant words to her. Which I wanted to quickly retract from the record. I said, “Oh he’s only been doing this for a little bit”. But it came out so completely WRONG!!!! As if it were no big deal that he was walking around like a champ. As if the look on her face wasn’t making me want to disappear from the very spot I was in. What I wanted to do was reassure her, but what came out of my mouth was like THOSE MOTHERS. We all know THOSE MOTHERS. This might all be in my own head. She might very well have heard what I had intended, but for some reason it sounded so very wrong to me. Plus, I was trying to corral my son while trying to make her understand that all kids are different and her son isn’t any less amazing then my very own. Ok back to me corralling my son……….I was so instantly appalled at what came out of my mouth and the tone of it all that I practically sheep-herded my son back to that Tiger exhibit with the stroller to elaborate what I meant. We get back to the tiger area and I let her know that he had been taking steps here and there. That today literally was the day where he felt confident enough at walking w/o mama to help him . I said don’t worry he’ll be walking in no time at all. As I’m saying this I’m trying to dodge my little guy with the stroller so he won’t get away. He finally breaks free! As I’m walking away I say, ” He’ll be walking soon. No worries. All kids are different. Have a good day”. Did this convey what I wanted her to know? Did she go back home that day and think that woman at the zoo was so right? Is she still thinking about our encounter as I am? Maybe. Maybe not. I will never forget it. I will never forget the look on her face. EVER! And this is why…………………
I struggled A LOT with comparing my son to other babies. Or having other mothers directly tell me that my son should be doing x,y, and z at this point in his development. I was so frantic with what he should be doing that I beat myself up constantly. On top of that my bundle of joy had acid reflux so that was stressful on top of thinking he wasn’t developing like others said he should. (If you are unaware of acid reflux in babies then that will be my next blog when I can emotionally deal with writing about it.) Let me tell you though early on my little man was on his “A” game. He was above and beyond his developmental stages in many things. And still continued to be after the rolling over situation, but my brain was stuck on the roll over thing. He amazingly rolled over at his 2 month check up twice in front of his pediatrician and she was soooooooo impressed as we were. Hello Genius baby!! We got home and over the course of maybe the next 2 months or so he rolled over a total of 2 more times on his very own. The other times daddy and I were helping him. I was kind of obsessed with this rolling over thing. At 6 months when he hadn’t rolled over anymore I was told by someone that he should be rolling over all the time oh and he should be able to hold a bottle also. I was enraged but bit my lip somehow. Here’s the thing my little man was able to sit upright on his own at 5 months and his doc was uber impressed. But this rolling over thing ate at me. Not to mention he had no intention of becoming mobile at 6 months when other babies were trying to. His pediatrician told us to not worry about him rolling over. She had seen it many times where babies would do it a few times and then not do it again. Then I asked her about crawling and she said not to worry. She said that babies actually hit that milestone about 9 months, but some do it earlier and some never crawl at all and it’s NO BIG DEAL! I felt relieved for about 2 minutes and then continued to beat myself up often about what he should be doing. Here’s my point, he started to roll over and sit up at about 7 1/2 – 8 months. He started crawling or scooting at 9 months and he really walked at 14 months. He took his first steps at 13 months but walked at 14 months. I admit that I still tend to get down on myself for my adorable son not doing this or that like that little toddler over there, but I think I’ve gotten past some of that. You know why? Cause every child is different!! Not all of them will roll over, sit up, crawl, walk, talk, run, or learn colors all at the same pace.
I admit that I let those things get to me from time to time. You always want your child to excel at everything and you also take a certain kind of pride that your child is awesome at this or that. I have learned to NEVER EVER tell another mother that your child should be doing this thing or that thing NOW. Extreme cases aside. Every child is different and it drives me beyond crazy that other people not just mothers, but even random people feel the need to let you know what they think is wrong. So a note to myself and to others: if you think someone else’s child isn’t doing what you THINK they should be doing keep it to yourself. Us Mom’s tend to beat ourselves up unneccessarily and when someone else feels they must let us know what our child should be doing it tends to make us crazy with a Capital C. Or raging mad with a capital R and M.