Baby Z has got to be a certified genius. At 21 months, she’s already speaking in complete sentences. True, the sentences are completely indecipherable, but so what. It’s not her fault we adults aren’t smart enough to decode her complex language. Is your child speaking in complete sentences yet? No? Aww, that’s too bad. Well, they all can’t develop as fast as my little wonder child. *arrogant little laugh followed by a sympathetic/condescending smile*
Am I the only one who has been in conversations that have felt like this? At times, it really feels like some parents think child development is a race, and they can’t help but rub in your face how their child is winning. I used to get bothered by this sort of thing. It made me feel like my child wasn’t moving fast enough, wasn’t progressing normally enough, but I’m happy to report that that’s a phase I’ve grown out of. (After all, I’ve got 21 months of motherhood under my belt, so I’m sort of like a seasoned vet at this point. I’m a pretty big deal. Ask about me. Hehe.)
But we’re not talking about now. We’re talking about back in the day (say, 14 months ago) when I was still new to it all. Baby Z was 7 months at the time and still not crawling. Since she’s my first child, I had nothing to compare her development to, so she was completely normal as far as I knew. It wasn’t until other parents, with their helpful selves, clued me in on the fact that she was far behind in the development race.
Them: She’s still not crawling?
Me: *Trying not to show how annoyed I am* No, not yet. *fake smile*
Them: Oh okay, Lil Speed Racer has been crawling for months now. He’s also pulling up on things, so he’ll probably be walking well before 1.
Me: Oh, Well Z isn’t crawling yet, but she’s pretty good at Meringue and loves to do long division to wind down before bed.
Okay, okay, I never really said that last part, but I wanted to. I used to get so sick of people talking about all the things my child can’t do. It’s one thing to simply discuss the fun, new things your baby is doing, but I always got the feeling they were throwing it in my face. Not cool. A few days before she turned 8 months, Z started crawling, but it was already old news. Everyone else’s babies were already close to walking by them. We were still losing the race.
Right now, the race seems to be focused around speech. Everyone wants to know how many words she can say, just so they can report back that their child can say twice as many. The difference now is that it doesn’t bother me anymore, because I don’t care. Me and Baby Z are dropping out of this race. We’re too cool for it. What changed? I realized a few things:
- These small developmental milestones seems huge in the moment, but really don’t matter in the long run. As long as there is progression, it doesn’t matter how fast it happens. When Baby Z turns 10, I probably won’t even remember or care when she started crawling.
- Parents tend to exaggerate (perhaps unintentionally) when they talk about their kids. I’ve heard parents wax poetic about all the funny things their children say. Then, I get around them as see their speech is just as jumbled up as my daughter’s.
Why are so many of us in such a rush to grow our children up? Parents of older children always remark at how fast time goes by and how they wish they could go back to when they were little. Parents of younger children seem obsessed with speeding through the little stages just so they can say they sped through them. Everyone is always rushing toward something or wishing they could go back to something. At what point do we get to just relax and enjoy the current moment, without comparing it to what it could be or what it used to be? For me and Z, that point is now. We traded in her racing shoes for a cute pair of leggings and a matching skirt. Hooray for spring!