I've been in a sappy mood this week. I have been working on my daughter’s baby scrapbook. As I was arranging pictures in her album I as so over come with emotion. My daughter just turned thirteen and while pouring over her pictures I began thinking of milestones…
If you sit around a toddler play group you hear the mommies compare notes and yes, also their babies.
You will hear.
Mom 1: "My Johnny walked at 11 months"
Mom 2: "well my Janey slept through the night at 6 months"
Mom 3: "well my lil Tommy is just 26 months and is almost potty trained"
Why are these things so important and why is it a competition?
Where does that leave those of us that had babies born less than perfect?
Does this make us less of parents because we don't fit the Mommy brigade mold?
My child was born 15 weeks premature. She weighed just eighteen ounces at birth and spent the first three months and four days of her life in the NICU. For the first month and a half we weren’t sure she was even going to survive. She didn't crawl until she was 12 months old and didn't walk until twenty-two months. The look of pity in those other Mommies eyes when they would see my one year old crawl instead of running, still sometimes haunts me all these yaers later. It doesn't bother me she couldn't compete, it bothered me because in their eyes my beautiful baby girl was less than perfect, she was "different" and in their minds odd or wrong.
In reality though, she was none of these things. She was and is a beautiful, special little blessing.
Now when I really think about it, I am somewhat thankful that I was blessed with my less than perfect infant. Let me explain this statement... She has taught me things that I may not have learned had she been on the "Toddler Fast Track".
I realize that through this beautiful, special little child I too, achieved milestones.
I learned patience, understanding, and acceptance. Milestones I had yet to reach in the dog eat dog world we live in.
This experience has also taught me what is really important.
It doesn't matter what age you child walks or talks or can catch a ball.
Sure it is nice to have trophies and plaques in you home that your child has earned by accomplishments. But, to me, what is inside my child's heart is more important.
Long before she was able to master walking or talking, my sweet child had mastered the art of loving and comforting.
With her smile that can melt an ice berg she has taught me what was truly important and how to stop and smell the roses.
Because of this child, and her inability to reach all those milestones at the same pace as most other children, my priorities shifted and I began to look at the world through her eyes and together we reach many milestones that I may have otherwise missed.
Things like comparing kids at the sand box meetings of the mommy brigade began to seem so unbelievably shallow and petty.
I have also began to wonder if these sandbox competitions that the mommies thrust their babies and toddlers into is the reason people grow up thinking that winning is everything, and we always have to be the toughest, the 1st, and the best, no matter what or whom we have to step on to achieve this.
Is this why our society is raising a multitude of self-centered children?
Is this why on the playground you can hear children mock, tease and ridicule others that aren't as athletic or academically inclined as they are? Did they learn this in the sandbox Olympics? Did they get their first taste of competition and "I'm better than you are" at 11 months old because they were able to walk but little Bobby who is 14 months hasn't mastered it yet?
Even now that my child has completely caught up and in many areas even surpassed her peers, neither my sweet baby girl nor I take things for granted.
It's not an issue to me when she learned or mastered something, if it is meant to be she will master it in her own time. If not, so what?
All that is important is that she is here, she is healthy and she makes our family complete.