Last week we talked about comparisons. About what your child is eating, and when.
This week, we're discussing comparing again, because it is a huge deal.
I'm not talking about comparative suffering - I'm talking about simple mom-to-mom talk and discussions.
We see it everywhere, on mom groups, in playdates, even just simple text message conversations.
Most of the time it's harmless, unintentional curiosity. But almost always it is damaging.
A little back story - Adam got the common cold around 5 months old. We were pros at tummy time at this point. We put a gym mat on the hospital floor, and a clean sheet over top, so that Adam could continue to develop and play as best as the situation allowed him to, but in a hospital setting, tethered to the wall by a suction tube.
We made it work. We brought in books, toys, a cute Finding Nemo activity centre with lights and sounds.
However, when Adam got sick, we pulled him off of the hospital floor and said absolutely not. Because even something as regular as a common cold is a huuuuuge deal when you're in a hospital and everything is monitored microscopically.
Adam no longer did tummy time.
We got his surgery date soon after, and kept him in a bubble. He stayed in his isolation/ private room, no visitors, nurses had to gown up, absolutely no leaving his crib to play on the floor… we had him quarantined so nothing would get in the way of his surgery.
Obviously after surgery he didn't have tummy time. We weren't putting him back on the hospital floor.
Plus he had a new button Gtube we didn't want to put pressure on.
When we went home, we tried tummy time ...Adam was now 8+ months old, this is vital development time!!!! However, we couldn't do it because the pressure on his stomach would cause reflux and we didn't want that.
So ….we were recommended an in-home occupational therapist. This was a huge pill for me to swallow. As a teacher I assure my student's parents that therapy is a good thing and it will only help!
...But I couldn't take my own advice. I couldn't admit that Adam was behind at something, and needed help. We did though, and I am glad that we did. Because it pushed me to keep pushing him, more than I would have. Instead of just staying "oh he'll catch up" we both worked so that he did, and he did so very quickly and very well.
The point is…
Adam barely crawled. He was stuck on his back from month 5-8 for the reasons above. He missed out on vital developmental practices. While most kids are doing tummy time, we're keeping him in one spot so he's at his healthiest for lifesaving surgery.
People don't know that.
So when they ask me "hows tummy time?" Or "when did Adam start crawling"
He didn't. We worked for weeks with an OT to get him crawling and redevelop those muscles and skills.
Adam finally started to crawl near the end of our time with the OT. He skipped the army crawl stage, and went straight to standing up and cruising.
Within a week, he was walking.
Not your typical journey.
Sounds great right?! Nope. Apparently those muscles they work while crawling are important for development to aid in their walking and standing…. Yeah whatever. I was happy my kid was walking.
The thing is - now Adam runs, jumps, swings, rolls, spins - everything. Just. Fine. Perfectly. Normal.
It is irrelevant to anyone else when, why, and how.
No one is going to ask your child on the playground "hey when did you start to crawl" or "how old were you when you began to walk"
It's irrelevant. Do not stress about it! If there is something delaying your child significantly, your paediatrician will notice and tell you. It's not up to mom groups to inadvertently shame you into thinking your child is less or is achieving less than theirs.
We need to focus on what our children CAN do and not what they are not doing.
The same thing goes with eating.
Everyone asks about the start date for purees, baby led weaning, whole foods, milk, a sippy cup…
Curiosity gets the best of us, but it's also comparison and shaming whether we realise it or not.
Mom's put pressure on each other and it's damaging!
Each baby will reach these milestones in their own time.
Just because Karen over there is feeding her kid bananas with the peel on as part of her BLW practice, doesn't mean that Susan is in the wrong for cutting her kid's banana into smaller pieces.
The fact of the matter is, both kids are eating. So Karen needs to keep her opinion and her self righteous feeding regime to herself.
If you're feeling pressure or stress about any of these things, please reach out to us. We promise you that we will be nothing but motivating and supportive. We've guided a lot of friends through these stages - comparison is the last thing you need to stress about. We've got you.
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