Milestones… Thats a word you will hear a lot as a parent of a baby. A word that never used to bother me particularly but now it’s a word that grates on me whenever its mentioned.
Why? Well let’s go back in time a bit. When I first had Louie I had no clue about this milestone thing, it wasn’t until our 8 week check when the doctor asked ‘is he smiling yet?’ I proudly reply ‘oh yes, he’s been doing it for weeks’ the doctor quickly replied with something along the lines of ‘that’s the first milestone ticked’ as he filled out our little red book.
When I got home I googled ‘baby milestones’ and was inundated with all these boxes that Louie should tick at various stages of his first 2 years of life.
Not long after this I noticed that the health visitor, family, friends and baby groups all like to chat about milestones and where their baby was at. I would proudly state how Louie was hitting every milestone when he should: smiling at 6 weeks, sitting up at 4 months, crawling at 6 months, walking at 11 months etc. It didn’t even dawn on me how I would be making other parents feel. I was in my own little new mum bubble.
Then when Louie hit 18 months all of sudden all my friends with toddlers the same age as Louie started to comment on how their little ones were speaking full sentences. Louie however was barely saying a word, mumma, dada, yes, no, car and duck was about it.
I remember heading home and frantically googling, texting the hubby and crying to my mum on the phone, overly dramatic I know but at this point I was 9 months pregnant with Evie so everything was dramatic. I began panicking that I wasn’t doing enough, talking to him enough, blamed being pregnant on his slow speech. I though all the other mums must be doing a better job than me. It didn’t even dawn on me that my other mum friends probably felt the same during other milestone markers, when I would unintentionally rub in their faces that Louie was ticking every box before he should.
Now Evie; that’s another story. 6 Months, 7 months, 8 months, 9 months would pass and still she wasn’t crawling. A whole new ball game for us as Louie was a super active baby. This was ok, I justified it to everyone when they would ask in a head tilted to the side, sympathetic, annoying, kind of way with ‘she’s just taking her time’ & ‘she’s just stubborn’ etc. In reality I was in a flap, I blamed myself for not giving her enough attention, enough tummy time, enough mummy time. I would go to my trusted Google and try to find other mums going through the same thing. Then it got to Evie’s 1st year check which was just before her first birthday. The health visitor came over and brought up the whole milestone question ‘is she walking?’- me ‘no’, HV ‘is she crawling?’ – me ‘no’ , HV ‘is she pulling herself up?’ – me ‘no’.
A few ums and rrrs later and she replied with ‘I’ve never seen a case like it, we might have to refer her, check her hips are ok, we’ll have to do regular checks, I’ll be back in a month’
I felt hideous, panicked, worried Evies hips weren’t ok, worried I hadn’t done what I should have.
The following week, on the very day Evie turned one, she crawled for the first time! Yep at a cracking age of 1 my baby started to crawl. The health visitor has been and checked on her a couple of times since and all is fine, she’s once again ticked those bloody milestone boxes.
So the moral of my long winded story is let’s give these milestone tick boxes a rest. Babies will do it when they are good and ready. Let’s be considerate to other parents when talking about the boxes ours have ticked when theirs may not have; let’s give the head tilted, sympathetic glances and questions a break and just shut our mouths for a bit. Why do we all feel the need to compare our babies all the time, for some sort of recognition? We are all doing what we need to do to get by, we are all trying our hardest to tick the every day boxes: feed, water, bath, survive. And our babies will tick the bloody milestone boxes when they are bloody good and ready. (By the way Louie who is now two and a half won’t stop talking; be careful what you wish for).
Thanks for reading…. And Yep I’m back!!