Is your baby everything you expected?

And by expected, I mean planned. Because that’s what we do when we are looking forward to the arrival of our little ones. We plan… and hope.. and dream. But just as we place lofty expectations upon ourselves (and our partners) for the type of parents we intend to be, (see post: “Eating Words… and Cheetos”) I think we also, perhaps subconsciously, set the bar for our babies too.

If we read to him enough, will he talk early? If  we use baby sign also, will he show even more verbal competency early? If we nurture his confidence enough, will he give up the bottle early? If we try all of the pediatrician recommended tips, could we have him potty trained early? If we use enough repeated practice, will he be able to identify colors and shapes (numbers, letters, etc.) early?

The problem with this way of thinking is the word early. You see, we read all of these books and articles and websites (think Baby Manual for DummiesIdiots Guide to Parenthood) that bestow upon us the magical calendar of milestones to watch for and record to make sure our baby is normal. However, “normal” is a setting on the dishwasher and a stupid word to apply to babies and parenting. The point is, we forget to bear in mind that the baby hasn’t read the books! Translation–> He doesn’t know when to cut his first tooth because he didn’t read that chapter. He is not sleeping through the night at 10-12 weeks as expected, because he slacked on that chapter too. Lazy baby. As it turns out, babies know no timeline. They reinvent their “schedule” daily, making it less of a schedule, and more of a “here’s how we spent (read: survived) our time today and count on it being different tomorrow.” And furthermore, they couldn’t care less about your milestone marker chart, cute though it may be. Alas, they create their own “normal.”

So my advice? (Not that I’m qualified to offer it…) As long as your baby is healthy and loved, RELAX. He’ll walk when he’s ready. He’ll give up that sippy cup in due time.  Put away your calendar and get out your camera… capture moments. Enjoy the milestones and “firsts” and celebrate them, but let your baby be a baby. Years from now, it is not going to matter that he smiled for the first time on his 17th day at 11:37 am… just that he smiled. And let’s remember that in no thesaurus is early synonymous with superior. They grow up too fast as it is.

DISCLAIMER: I am, by no means, saying not to read all those books out there; that goes against my nature.  I read them, and I’d read them again. In fact, I am always reading parenting books and articles and media. So read on, mamas! I am merely suggesting that we maybe ought not place so much emphasis on milestone dates that tell us how “normal” our children are… or are not. Every baby has their own pace and their own “normal.”

I think back to this post as a reminder of my “normal” that day… not what I had planned.

Here, baby... read this.

Also, I think this whole “What to Expect” mojo is stemming from the fact that three of the four girls I shared pregnancy with are all pregnant again. (Yes there were five of us friends preggo at the same time… apparently there was nothing good on TV that season.)  The fever is setting in. Better get Netflix.

This is the day we found out Zachary was a boy... we were stupid happy.

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About dramafreemama

I am a wife, homeowner, teacher, sister, pet-owner, and friend...But the most humbling and moving role in my life to date is that of a mother, or better yet, a MOMMY. We live in a rural area of Virginia and we keep it simple. This blog is about juggling life in all these different roles. Please subscribe/follow and ENJOY!
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3 Responses to Is your baby everything you expected?

  1. I couldn’t have read this post on a better day! I had my sons one year check today, and they referred me to a specialist to have my son tested for autism. It really hurt. I know I cried a lot because i never thought I’d hear those words. My son is healthy as can be. He started crawling at 6 months, walking at 9 months, he has more strength then most 6 year olds I know. He drinks from a straw, feeds himself, and is just as loveable as can be. But because he doesn’t clap, play peek a boo, wave bye bye, or say mama and dada and associate those with the correct people, they want him checked for autism. I just can’t understand the pressure we have put on ourselves and our children now to be these machines that know everything they should know at birth! I will continue to read and I will have him checked to be on the safe side, but I am going to take a breath and tell meself he is just being a baby instead of a machine!

    • Amber, I admire your approach to what I know must be a really difficult situation. I hope that you are comforted by whatever you learn and that your little sugar continues to brighten your world with his self-paced awesomeness. Maybe he’ll one day decide he’s ready and say hi, mom; hi, dad. What’s for dinner? Or maybe he’ll amaze you in some other unique ways. Either way, i am glad my post reached you today when you needed it. Peace and blessings to you and your little one.

  2. This is a terrific post, with lessons we could carry into adulthood and use on ourselves! Cool blog; good for you!

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