I remember the day very well. A girlfriend of mine, and a fellow mommy, asked me if my son, who was 3 months old at the time, had rolled over yet. He hadn’t. My mind started to race. Was he supposed to have mastered this skill already? Was this a sign of a developmental disorder? Was my sweet, cuddly, adorable baby boy…behind?
I went home and immediately consulted the authority on all matters, Google. According to my online search, babies can roll over as early as 2 months or as late as 6. I let out a sigh of relief, but the perfectionist in me, the part of me that always had me sitting at the front of the class, became obsessed with getting Griffin to roll over. I would lay him on the floor, dangle toys over to his left side, then his right, trying to encourage him to flip from his back to his tummy. I offered bribes. “Mommy will let you take your nap today in my arms. You can tug on my hoop earrings as often as you like. I will let you have a pony in a few years.” He didn’t budge. He just cooed and smiled at me.
A few months later, I set Griffin on my bed, and reached over to the dresser to grab a diaper. Thunk. Waaaa! Poor baby boy rolled right off our King size bed and landed face first on the floor. I screamed, cried, and panicked that I had forever damaged my baby (he was fine)!
The moral of the story? First, be careful what you wish for (mobile babies are a whole new ball game), and second, your baby will roll over, walk, talk, break dance and learn Einstein’s theory of relativity on his own time.
I wish every mom would agree to repeat after me: “I will not rush my baby into growing up”. “I will not compare my child to another child”. “I will not try to one-up another mom by telling her that my child says more words than hers does”.
That one really drives me nuts. If you know my kid isn’t walking yet, don’t tell me yours was running at his age. If Griffin still calls lights “ites”, please don’t remind me that your child knew how to pronounce “macaroni” by his first birthday. It makes me feel bad, and it encourages me to obsess over everything my child does.
I think new moms are under enough pressure as is. We don’t need fellow moms contributing to our new parent anxiety.
I’ve got enough to worry about, between juggling my career and being a mommy and loving wife, cleaning the house, my car, spit up off my shirt, and spaghetti sauce off the wall.
I will admit, I have been guilty of these offenses as well. When my son took his first steps, I excitedly posted the news on Facebook. I am sure moms whose babies were still crawling may have thought I was gloating. I have watched other kids my son’s age at the park, and then gone home to tell my husband how much more advanced Griffin is. But, I am trying to be better about this. It’s not good for me, and it’s certainly not good for Griffin, who will soon realize that his every move is being tracked and evaluated by me.
As my pediatrician, the amazing Dr. Guy Efron says, enjoy your child, don’t obsess over percentiles, milestones, or averages.
I am wondering though, am I still allowed to obsess over getting into preschool?