The other day I took my 8-month-old son to a class at the library, called Baby Laptime. Basically you sit in a circle with your baby and the other mom and tots and sing songs, do a few sensory activities, and then afterwards there’s time for mingling.
Matthew was not interested in the class. He wanted to crawl around and try to touch everything, maybe grab at another baby, but he really could have cared less. One of the mums asked how old he was, and remarked at how well he was crawling. When I asked how old her young one was, she said 9 months, and immediately followed up with:
“He had bad reflux, so we didn’t do much tummy time, that’s why he’s not crawling.”
It actually was good she said that, as Matthew too had bad reflux, so we chatted about the challenges. But as I was walking out, I thought about how quickly she had volunteered that information. It hadn’t occurred to me to be honest, to ask her about his crawling, babies all figure out eventually. Some skip that completely and start running around. Some babies sleep through the night immediately, while some take some encouragement.
But clearly, she has had some comments thrown her way about her sons’ development. Which sucks. Hard. In kindgergarten, you wouldn’t know that Timmy walked before Suzie. So what does it matter?
I read a blog once that was from the point of view of a mum who had a highschooler and a new baby. She talked about how she was very focused on milestones raising her first child. As she watched her elder son walk across the stage at graduation, amongst the rest of the graduates, she suddenly realized how little all of that mattered.
They all get there eventually.
So lets stop putting so much emphasis on “what can Timmy do”, and support one another. Instead of asking “Is Timmy doing (insert milestone here)?” … ask “How is Timmy doing?” Better yet: “How are YOU doing?”.