It feels like it never ends. Whenever I’m out with my baby, I get the questions. Whether it’s strangers, acquaintances, or friends, I hear, “Is she walking yet?” No. “Is she cruising?” No. “Is she pulling up?” No. “Is she crawling?” Well, kind of. She scootches. Finally — half a checkmark.
I get it — people are trying to be nice and conversational. So I go along with it and smile while trying not to buy into the shame and disappointment I’m feeling inside. But some of the judgment is real.
See, I’m totally aware that my daughter’s not walking. And I’m totally aware that kids develop different skills at different times. And I’m really proud of the things she does do. Her language and social skills have really exploded in the last couple weeks.
But this constant barrage of questions kills me and leaves me feeling like she’s the racehorse who hasn’t even left the gate.
And I’m not the only one. Friends of mine feel the same way. People, especially moms, love to ask what other people’s babies are doing as if there’s some checklist they all need to meet by a certain age.
But here’s the thing. Whether it’s sleep, language, or physical milestones, babies all have their own timelines! Babies do not read the “ages and stages” charts and follow them like a playbook. And the charts are all based on averages. Averages. As in, bell curves. As in, there are kids at both ends, “early” and “late.” And it is all OK. Not all kids need to know how to moo like a cow or walk unassisted by a certain age. Barring any serious problems, they all will get there.
Watching my baby’s firsts are amazing. She blew a kiss to herself in the mirror the other day. She lifted her shirt and said “bu-bo” while pointing to her belly. And I know her physical development will catch up. She’s in Early Intervention to help it along. And I’m really loving watching her day-to-day growth and development.
Please, when you see me, and when you see other moms, don’t go through a checklist of behaviors. Instead, ask, “How are things going?” or, my favorite, “What are her new tricks?” This really opens the door to let me boast about the things she is doing and focus on the positive. After all, there’s always so much positive — if you choose to see it.