Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Monkey in the middle

My little monkey is one amazing boy. Or at least I think so. But I’ll let you in on a little secret. I’ve been very selective about my blog topics concerning him because I’m not quite sure how to talk about his development. But, a few recent blog posts out there have brought me into the light, so to speak.

Both Julie and Brooklyn Girl have written posts on how they feel that they must make apologies for their sons’ behavior. Julie apologizes because her 20-month-old does not walk yet, and BG apologizes because her 10.5-month-old toddles around the playground. I feel like I am caught in the middle of those two moms. Gabriel is not yet walking at a little more than 14 months old. The “average” is 12-14 months, depending on who you consult, and so my mommy instincts scream “developmentally delayed...get thee to a specialist pronto!” I think about how I can really understand where Julie is coming from with her concerns. Then it dawns on me that if I were to express my empathies and co-worries to her, she would probably consider me a numbskull assvice dispenser, because my kid is a whole six months younger than Charlie, which in baby time is an eternity. Then I think about BG’s concerns that her son is walking around but not really talking. Gabriel has been talking and communicating very well since he turned nine months. Does that make up for the lack of mobility?

The whole developmental milestone discussion can be quite a sore topic with us moms. We all want our children to be “normal” or even “advanced.” Some of us (like me) don’t discuss it much for fear of either revealing a weakness in our child or fear that we will offend someone whose child is less or more advanced than our own. It makes mommyhood a lonely place when we don’t have each other for support. Childhood development is not a competition. I find it frustrating that I have even said things like “No, Gabe isn’t walking, but he says more than 20 words and uses phrases,” because it’s another apology. Another form of competition. And another way that we distance ourselves from each other. Who else is going to willingly listen to you discuss your child’s excrement? We moms have to stick together. Ok? Good? Great.

P.S. The above is simply a thought from my own head. It is not directed at, or written about, anyone in particular. I write this disclaimer only because it seems that sometimes the most innocent of venting posts gets blown out of proportion and a blog war begins. Not that I have a slurry of readers, but you never know...


Elizabeth said...

I hear you. I also have a 14-month-old. She walks very well but only has a few words. She's actually pretty average as far as the developmental charts go and I *still* feel the need to minimize/maximize her development when talking to other moms whose kids have different timetables. I also am guilty of wondering why she is so "late" to talk since I myself was like your son, I talked early and I talked a LOT. My daughter is stil more of a grunter and pointer than a talker, but that's OK, she's still a baby! And it would be OK if she wasn't walking yet, too! But I know I'd be worried about that, as you are. Just remember that so much can change in a short time, and also that by the time these kids are 3 you will not be able to tell who walked or talked earliest, for the most part.

Anonymous said...

Yes, yes, yes! It's hard that the desire for normality is fraught with so much angst.

~Brooklyn Girl

dish said...

Elizabeth- you are absolutely right. By the time they are three, we'll never know the difference. Excellent point.