As a new mom, I worry (obsess) about every single milestone my son approaches. When he wasn’t sitting up and other children in mommy and me class were, I freaked out! I spent an entire week practicing sitting up, until he did. When it came time to start walking, I freaked out. I would compare him to every child around us and wondered why he wasn’t doing these things. The day of his 1st birthday, he ran (forget walking). My latest worry (obsession)? Talking. Joseph has been a very late talker, up until a week ago (and mind you he is almost 2) all he really said was “tete” his name for his binky. This caused me many a sleepless night, many a tear-filled moment and continued stress.
I have looked up toddler speech on ever single website, every parenting site, every parenting magazine; everywhere! And everywhere I looked it was all the same advise….run to the speech therapist because your child should be reciting poetry before the age of 2! I was even told he was not ready for pre-pre-school because he did not have enough words in his vocabulary. I won’t mention the school, but I can assure you my son will not be attending.
At the park I would listen to other boys and ask their age, ask when they started to talk. At mommy and me classes I would watch Joseph and compare him to other kids and their communication. It became an all-out obsession. A very stressful obsession. I dreaded that 2 year old visit to my pediatrician, when I knew he was going to ask about Joseph’s speech! I cried about it! I prayed to god! I lit a candle at church…I begged my son to PLEASE talk! And of course low and behold, just when I had made that speech therapist appointment, ear specialist appointment and started to feel defeated…Joseph started to talk.
Yes, my wonderful little boy, who has been healthy and wonderful throughout these almost two years started to talk overnight! Just as many other mothers had told me would happen. We went from a handful of words to over 60 words in just a week (yes, I am still counting!)…
The tears of fear turned to tears of relief…my prayers for hope turned to prayers of thankfulness…my world turned around with each new word. And still as he starts to use a new word every day I take a sigh of relief…
It seems to me I have spent the almost two years biting my fingers as each and every milestone comes around. Reading the websites, reading books, reading magazine articles, comparing; doing everything but allowing my son to develop at his own pace. I am sure this is a first-time mom “thing’…but it is CRAZY!
Why do all these websites, and articles fill our heads with these rushed preconceptions of what our children “should” be doing? As a teacher, I knew that all children develop differently. I knew that boys especially are later talkers. I knew that some kids just need more time. I also knew that my son was perfectly healthy and meeting all these expectations on time! Yet, I allowed the “should be” expectations to take precious time away from my son and I and fill me with worry and fear.
I wrote this blog both because I wanted to purge myself of all the worries I have had throughout the past few months, as well as because I want other first time moms to know that you cannot lead you parenting by what the websites or so-called experts say. We need to listen to ourselves and our instincts about our own children. We as mothers know them better than anyone else…and we need to allow them to grow up on their own schedules, happy, healthy and at their own pace. I love my son, and I know there will be more worrying ahead as that is what mothers do, but I will no longer forget my instincts. I will allow my son to live his life at his own pace.