I’m suffering a bit of writer’s block, folks. Bear with me. In the meantime, here’s a guest post I wrote for Laura Jane in case you didn’t click over to her blog last week (shame on you if you didn’t).
Laura Jane and I are kindred spirits. We are both young (well, she’s young and I’m knocking on 30’s door) first-time moms, and our children were both born via C-section on the same day. How neat is that? We have similar wicked senses of humor, are both married to really really really ridiculously good-looking men, and we’re both moms of boys. Big boys. HUGE boys. As in barely a year old and can already rock a 2T shirt. CJ has been in 18/24 month clothes for at least two months. They’re just stout boys from hardy stock. Obviously, because of the cuteness, they get a lot of attention. But sometimes, as evidenced in the comments section of this entry by LJ, people can be a little, oh,what’s the word, rude, shall we say? But never mind the haters, Mason and CJ are just big boys. Tall and thick. People must just be jealous of their future careers in the NFL. (Remember, CJ, Momma needs a house in the Hamptons and a Bentley. I BIRTHED YOU.)
One of the consequences (for lack of a better word) of having a larger child, I’m convinced, is that their motor skills can develop a little more slowly than their smaller counterparts. I know people whose babies were crawling at 5 months old, walking at 9 months. Well, CJ and Mason both started crawling just before turning 10 months old. Laura Jane and I were both frequenters of the parenting message boards on The Bump, and every day from Babies 3-6 Months on we would see post after post after post entitled “We have a crawler!” or something similar. I would look forward to the day I could make that post, confident that it would be soon that CJ would be on the move. Well, month 6 went by. As did month 7. And month 8. By month 9, After virtually every other June 17 baby (there were a ton of us) had begun crawling, I would turn into a pearl-clutching worrywart, wondering WHAT’S WRONG WITH MAH BAYBEH, HE’S NOT CRAWLING YET! Oh, the horror. Laura and I commiserated on Facebook about our non-mobile, nearly 10-month old chunkers, wondering when shall be their time. Lo and behold, albeit a little later than most other babies their age, they started crawling!
AND HAVEN’T STOPPED SINCE.
Seriously, why were we in such a friggin’ hurry to get them to crawl? I don’t think I’ve had a moment of downtime since that fateful day he started lumbering around on all fours (and yes, he lumbers). I have to put him in the playpen to use the bathroom or whip up a quick meal. And housework? Forget about it. If it can’t get done during naptime, then it will just have to wait. I mean, I’m glad my little guy is becoming more independent, but man, it sure is tiring.
All that to say, LJ and I worried needlessly about our boys’ big mobility milestones. Shortly after the crawling started, they started pulling up to standing, cruising, and standing independently for longer periods of time, boom boom boom. It happened like a line of dominoes, just needing that first little push. But that still didn’t stop us from worrying at least a little. We wanted our kids to be on par with other babies their age, or at least ahead of babies younger than them. And honestly? I wanted to be on par with other mothers. Talking about crawling babies, babyproofing the house, taking cute pictures of CJ standing and videos of him cruising around. The longer he was stationary, the more left out I felt. I know I put a lot of that on myself, but there is always a little element of mompetition when you get a group of mothers together (in real life or on the interwebs).
It seems as if our parental prowess gets tied up in our children’s milestones and who can reach them first. I have even had inclinations that some of the moms on said parenting message boards would stretch the truth (or flat-out lie) about their child’s development or some mothering achievement if they thought it would make them look better. You know you’ve thought it, don’t even try to pretend you haven’t. But what I came to understand very quickly is that my mommy skillz have minimal to slightly moderate influence on my son’s development. All I have to do is make sure he is receiving proper nutrition, engaging in plenty of mental stimulation, and being loved on like there’s no tomorrow, and he will develop and grow in his own time (barring any sort of physiological issues, of course, but we would cross that bridge if we came to it). No amount of coaxing or baiting him with toys and puffs got him to crawl before he was ready. But when he was ready? It was off to the races. He rolled over at 3 months without our help. He sat up independently at 5 months, literally all of a sudden. He didn’t care for solid foods until he was around 7 months old (but when he got into them, he GOT INTO THEM). And when he was ready to crawl, he did. He will walk in his own time, too. I’ve learned to just sit back, relax, and let him be in the driver’s seat on these matters.
(Here’s the part where I drop a little warm and fuzzy kumbayah-type ish on you.)
Moms, we are all in a special club. We’re on the same team. No one of us is made better by by pushing another down. It’s not a race to the finish line. We are all on this journey together. It should be our goal to help each other out and provide encouragement so that no mom is made to feel like a failure because her child isn’t crawling by 6 months or eating steak and baked potato at 8 months. We are hard enough on ourselves. We don’t need any added pressure or judgment from other moms. Every child, every mother, every circumstance is different. We need to embrace these differences and be supportive and helpful to each other.
Puppies and rainbows, anyone? I have officially reached my gushy quota for the year.
Moral of the story: don’t be a douchenozzle to other moms. Easy enough? Great. Burks out.