Celebrating being the last in your parenting peer group …
OH MY GOD! Can’t believe he took his first step the day before he was 6 months! NIGHTMARE!
Two months old and crawling ALL OVER THE PLACE! WATCH OUT WORLD!
… Are both sentences I will never be posting in fake distress on Facebook, whilst actually feeling smug that my baby is smashing through their milestones.
No. My beautiful, wonderful baby is of a very different temperament. She takes the slow, considered approach to each development stage. Why start crawling when you’re so happy lying on your back playing with your toys? Why walk on your own when you can pad around the house holding your mama’s hands for four months first?
Now. I’m not going to lie. There may have been moments I’ve turned a bit crazy-new-mum about it. It’s hard not to, as milestones are the staple conversation starter. I’d start chatting with a random parent-with-baby in the swimming pool and within seconds they’d reach for ‘is she crawling yet?’ At some point, my answer – ‘not yet’ – changed from eliciting comments like ‘ah, she’ll get there in the end’ to people making awkward worried faces and shuffling (paddling) off. And then, there’s my NCT (or, Dutch equivalent of NCT) group. My invaluable source of comfort and solidarity in so many ways. But, by the time every single one of them had joyfully posted videos of their freshly-crawling babies, I started to feel self-conscious about drawing attention to my very happy slug. And, naturally, I started to act like a total lunatic; bootcamp training my poor baby using her favourite toys or my phone as enticing bait as though she were a squirrel in a nature-show experiment.
At 14.5 months, we’re still on ‘project walk’. Again, she’s the last of her peers and, again, everyone tells me she’ll get there in her own time.
They’re absolutely right. So, this post is several things. It’s a note to myself to set aside the crazy and realise being the first to do these things is absolutely not important. There are wonderful things about having a slower-developing baby – she’s got an amazing, happy, relaxed temperament; I’ve been able to have a baby for longer, instead of a toddler and it’s a great exercise in patience.
And, finally, she’s perfectly healthy. What’s more important than that?
Cheers, then, to all the other parents out there whose little nippers take their sweet time about everything. Let’s celebrate their dogged determination to only do things when they’re ready. As one delicious beverage company once said: “good things come to those who wait.”