Day 86: The Temptation of Comparing Your Child to Others

Fortunately we have been meeting more and more people with little ones near the same age as our little guy.  This led to a few nice meet-ups, and today we had our first big play date.  It was so fun to see a group of babies in ages from 6,5 months (our little guy was the youngest) up to 8,5 months playing and crawling around.

Two months is a really long time in the development of babies.  To a baby, crawling, understanding their name when called, and a variety of other small but interesting things are a big deal.  So, when you are meeting with a bunch of other children around the same age cluster, you start to compare in your head.  You ask questions to the older baby’s parents, like, “when did your little one start to crawl?” (and then you make a mental note of it and secretly make plans to push your little one’s development so they can be “on schedule” with the competition other babies.)

The thing is, you cannot push the development of a baby.  They are going to develop one way or another at their own pace.  Sure, you should do all the important things with them (play good games with them, read to them, talk to them, and so on), but it appears that aside from giving the baby love and attention to set them up with the right environment, their development is really up to them, and it is really up to them with regard to when they will hit one phase or another.  While your little one may be ahead in some things, they may be behind in others, and it is all perfectly normal and nothing to freak out about (see my post from yesterday).

Unfortunately, even though I knew all of this, I still got a little freaked out with all the barely-older babies crawling around so actively, while our little guy was just sitting there playing very near to us – a little momma and daddy’s boy.  Was this ok?  Is he on the right path in his development?  We talked about it on the walk home, we were worried, as good caring parents should be, right?  Then, after the little guy was in bed, I brought out one of my favorite parenting books, “The New Father” by Armin A. Brott.  It confirmed to me that the little guy is right on track with his development – and even a bit ahead in the intellectual stuff (you like how I threw that in there, just to make sure you know he IS advanced after all?) 😉

I have written about this topic before on day 25, and I suspect I will write about it again – the role of a parent seems to filled with continual concern about these things.  After all, we want our children to be awesome, to be ahead of the curve.  These little milestones reassure us that we are good parents, and that we are doing the right things, and that our children are going to be OK, and they will make it in the world.  The frustrating thing for people like me who like to “get things done” is that we cannot hurry development – we cannot force it, we just have to let things go as they should.

So, today was a reminder not to be so hard on myself.  To look at those baby smiles and listen to the pure joy in the laughter when we play, and to simply appreciate the time that we are in right now.  Things will be as they will be, and it will all be just fine.

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