Sunday, September 23, 2007

Milestones

It seems that a baby's life is simply a series of milestones: holds up head, sits, crawls, walks, talks, etc. As a first time parent, I was constantly checking the baby books to determine if our child's milestones are occurring at the correct times. My "What to Expect in the First Year" book has ear-marks at the start of each chapter and each page is very worn and the entire book has been thumbed through. I would quickly glance over the 'what your child should be able to do" section, quickly read over the 'what your child may possibly be able to do" section, and then carefully study the 'what your child might possibly be able to do" section.

Our eldest child was an early bloomer in terms of milestones. Actually, at times he appeared to be a freak of nature! Sitting on his own at 3 months, rolling over before 4 months, combat crawling at 4 months (and a day!), cruising furniture at 7 months (and 4 days), balancing on his own and letting go of said furniture at 7 months (and 14 days) and taking his first steps at 9 months and confidently walking by 10 months. Freak!

Boy, did we have issues with his early milestone achievements. Firstly, we got kicked out of Baby and Me Yoga. The course description indicated it was ideal for Moms and babies up to 6 months...the fine print said, "non-mobile" babies. We were expelled after only 1 class as my combat crawler would attempt to visit other babies laying peacefully below their posing moms.

The second issue we had was a bit more serious. We caused tensions and comparisons for other baby-mommy units - especially at play groups. I will never forget a mom watching DJ crawl around, then ask me his birth date...only to discover her child was actually 19 days older than DJ. Then she started to interrogate me: WOW, sitting up already (or crawling or cruising, or doing algebra),eh?? What exactly are you doing to encourage this behaviour? Her body language and attitude was as if I had some secret I was keeping from her!

I hate it when parents compare children. Every child is different and it is wrong to compare them with others.

Unfortunately, we fell into the habit of comparing milestones accomplishment dates between DJ and Anderson. I guess it is normal to do that - especially when there is less than a year between them. It was easy to remember DJ's milestones, especially since he was our first and given the fact that most had just occurred!

We never fretted over seeing Ander meet DJ's dates. But we did use DJ's dates as a bench mark. Anderson quickly proved he would do everything at his own time, and always fell into the normal category.

But the truth be told, we were anxious for Anderson to hit all his milestones. It was challenging caring for two little ones so close in age. And the sooner he hit certain milestones, the more he could interact with his big brother and take some stresses off me! But we never pushed and we always celebrated his own personal development journey.

I have always been very grateful that DJ walked so early. Could you imagine lugging a 1 month old and a 12 month old around in the snow and cold weather? It would have been hell. At least DJ was steady on his feet and would hold onto my hand or the bucket seat when we walked from the car to play group.

It is a very different frame of mind that I am enjoying Madigan's milestones. With each, I experience a small whiff of melancholy, and usually say a quick prayer that she does not rush. I need to enjoy and totally take in each stage she passes. She is my last baby - I want to enjoy, savour and totally appreciate each of her milestones. And a little part of me wants her to remain my little baby girl forever!!!

DJ was our "adorable freak", Anderson was our "in my own time cowboy" and Madigan is just establishing her milestone character (I am hoping she is my slow and steady princess!)

At first we watched Madigan very quickly master sitting up on her own...and the play group integration by other moms started right away. She started combat crawling fairly early and has done that for awhile. Mags is just starting to crawl properly. I am very happy for this - not because it is a milestone, but because she is much slower a proper crawler than a combat crawler. I hope this will stretch out this milestone and allow me to properly admire and soak it all in. But I must admit, she is growing up too fast. She is no longer a newborn, and I fear i will blink and I will be watching my little girl walk down the aisle!

When and how each of the Storrie Trilogy has mastered the normal baby milestones is as different as each of their personalities. Each to be admired, praised and championed.

1 comment:

slouching mom said...

And y'know, they all sit up, crawl, walk, talk, go potty, and ride their bikes eventually...