I know that all babies are different. I know that they develop and reach milestones at different times. I know that I shouldn’t be concerned about Oscar’s sleeping habits. I know that I shouldn’t stress about his food intake. I know I shouldn’t compare Oscar to other babies his age. But I do. And I hate that I do.
He’s only a little over seven months old and he is doing brilliantly and thriving in every way. So why the hell am I comparing him to the random baby I saw at the park that was crawling already. Or the friend of a friend’s cousin’s work colleagues baby that was supposedly walking at 7.5 months? Why am I always asking my sister how old her kids were when they started doing this or that, how much food they were eating at this age, when did they start sleeping through, when did they start clapping, how old were they when they mastered the pincer grip? Seriously, it has to stop. I have to stop.
I didn’t really appreciate its value at the time but my sister gave me some great advice when Oscar was only a month or so old. It was after I had mentioned that Oscar was hating tummy time and that I was worried he might not be reaching the milestones for his age. She simply said, “Don’t stress. In a couple of years you’ll look back and wonder why you ever worried about these things at all.” This is so true and I am finally ready to listen.
From now on I am going to follow his lead and just relax. It feels good already!
No longer will I worry that he refuses to eat finger foods. Only he will decide when he is ready for that and in the meantime he is still eating purees. Plus that kid has always breastfed like a champ and at his age milk is still supposed to be his main food source anyway. As long as he keeps those chunky legs and his buddha belly then I know he is doing great.
No longer will I compare Oscar to the other babies from my mothers group meetings. Our IVF doctor told us that Oscar was a textbook perfect embryo and according to every milestone I’ve read about he is now a textbook perfect baby. He is moving at his own pace and is perfectly on track with where he is meant to be. He is learning so quickly, taking in more everyday and most importantly he is happy and healthy.
No longer will I let out a longing sigh when another mother tells me that her child has slept though the night since 3 weeks old. Yes, Oscar needs to be settled several times from when we put him to bed until we join him later that night. That’s okay. Yes, he also still wakes 3 times a night to feed or for a cuddle. That’s okay too. You know why that’s okay? Because in the morning he wakes up the happiest kid on the planet with the sweetest smiles just for us. We take great comfort in knowing that he never feels the stress of not having one of us respond to him when he needs us during the night. I know that there will be difficult days ahead when I return to work but I also know it’s all temporary and it won’t be like this forever.
I’m sure I am not alone in this. I think it may be a first time parent thing and I suppose it’s only natural to look for signs of the next milestone or compare your baby to others. But I don’t want to do it anymore. I just want to appreciate each month of his life and take it as it comes.
Ten years from now, I’m not going to remember exactly how old he was when he mastered the pincer grip. Even the sleepless nights probably won’t stand out in my memory. What I will remember are his tiny hands and feet, his ridiculous smile and the fact that he was always able to find such comfort when we held him close.
Here’s to taking a step back and letting our little prince grow.