Then I remember the Time Magazine cover photo featuring a boy breastfeeding at three years old. The story talked about attachment parenting and how it is the way to go. A few weeks after that I was urged by my pediatrician to do the Cry It Out method, and how that is the only way to help my child learn independence.
I have talked to moms who co-slept with their babies until they were seven, and moms who had their babies in the crib as newborns. I have friends who breastfed their babies, and friends who didn’t. What is the right way to parent a baby?!
Then, once you are filled with guilt and confusion by the media and other mothers out there, you start hearing about percentiles and baby milestones. I will never forget taking my baby to a reading class at the library and having a mom actually complain to me how she wished her son were able to be as social as my daughter since they were the same age. I was so sad to hear the comparison. He seemed like a bright, adorable little guy who was interested in playing with his toys, not talking to my daughter. I also remember when the pediatrician told me my daughter was in the 15th percentile for weight and height. I was like, “Is she OK?!”. He had to explain to me how the measurements worked, but already I was overwhelmed with how my daughter was being measured up to every other kid… at 6 months old.
I am venting about this whole baby milestone issue. We love our children, and we want them to grow up safe and healthy. I am so there. And of course I want my daughter to develop well. I know milestones, in essence, are important to gauge where our children are at developmentally. However, every kid is unique, different, and special- so much to the point that comparing them is hard to do. Some kids excel at math, some at reading, some at music. I think their little personalities start coming out as early as infants!
I think there are “milestones” us moms create in our heads. I hear another baby is sleeping through the night and think, “What am I doing wrong?!”. When my daughters playmate started walking and Lillian was not even close to standing, I was concerned she was behind developmentally. However, Lillian was fine and she started walking eventually. Not every single thing I do or don’t do effects how my sweet little darling develops. She has a mind of her own, a will of her own, and timing of her own.
At the end of the day, I want my daughter to know that she has been given a set of unique, important, and valuable skills that fit her. I am trying to settle down and just do the best I can, knowing that every playtime, cuddle, and moment I teach her is a gift I am giving her that will help her develop into the lovely Lillian she is to become. I want to help guide her growth and development as a joyful and exciting experience, not one filled with pressure, stress, and deadline. Do you have any stories to share that fit with this topic? Let me know.