When I had my first child, the What to Expect in the First Year book was like my JAM. I mean I flipped through that thing on the daily, checking in to see if my darling tot was hitting his milestones and what I should be looking out for and just your basic first time mom hyper awareness. For the first year too, we were pretty golden, and he hit all the milestones right on time (some even early, and I was all like “Well I’m not gonna say he’s advanced BUT…”).
And then, we got to the whole talking thing. Or rather, in this case, the not talking thing. Around 18 months or so, Finn still had zero words, and it was making me a little crazy. Partly because I assumed (in my absolutely zero educated on this manner in any professional sense of the word way) that he should be talking by that point and partly because instead of talking he screamed, like, a LOT. Mainly when he didn’t get his way, but also just in general. So yeah, I was on edge about it.
So one day, we were at an indoor play area by our house, and it was filled with kids his age, all of whom seemed to be able to talk at least a little bit. Finn and a little girl his age were both at a magnet wall playing with the letters, and she took some that Finn had assumed were off limits I suppose and he flipped out. Screamed, threw some letters on the floor, basically typical Finn behavior (and, let’s face it, typical toddler behavior). I mean he was NOT pleased. The little girl’s mom was taken aback by this outburst of two year old-ness and removed her daughter from Finn’s vicinity, making me feel a little, I don’t know, embarrassed? And then she asked me if I “had gotten him evaluated yet”.
Now, to be honest I didn’t even know what she meant at the time, but her tone (spoiler alert: it was rude) and nosiness and total lack of any compassion for a cranky two year old in general rubbed me the wrong way so I just gave her a look, collected my kicking and screaming child, and exited as quickly as possible. And, full disclosure, cried in my car in the parking lot because I was just so, SO tired (I was a newborn mom at that point too) in general and was so SO SO tired of this kid screaming all the time and was just a little worried, or a lot worried. Now, if she had, I don’t know, maybe approached me in a “I’ve been there and want to help” kinda way, then that would have been awesome, but the way she handled it made me feel like a neglectful parent with an out of control child.
After telling my mom this story, she told me what I tell other moms all the time now, “All children are different”. And like, DUH, I knew this, but what she really wanted to tell me was “Put down the baby book and look at your own child, and his own schedule”.
So I did. And even after his two year old checkup and still no words, I still waited, and sure enough, he did start talking (and now never stops, but I love it Finn I really do). And even now, the whole “every child is different” thing couldn’t be more true. Why? Well I have five of them now, and presumably I have parented them all more or less in similar ways, I mean, I am the same person, roughly. But, with that being said…
- Sleeps like a champ, and slept through the night at 6 weeks
- Didn’t sleep through the night till 6 months and had night terrors for YEARS
- Slept through the night early and puts himself to bed without asking every night at 6:30
- Won’t sleep in her own bed and refuses to go to sleep anytime, anywhere
- Just started sleeping through the night at 12 months
- Not till after he was 1
- Before 1 year old
- SEVEN MONTHS seriously it was the worst
- Definitely after one year old
- 9 months, ready to run
- Doesn’t like cheese. I mean, who doesn’t like cheese?!
- Would prefer to eat ONLY cheese
- Isn’t a fan of anything really
- Eats like a goat
- Will try anything
So you see what I mean? THEY ARE ALL DIFFERENT. Of course, of COURSE this goes without saying but since this is the internet I have to make this disclaimer :: IF you think your child has any developmental delays that is something to bring up with your pediatrician as CLEARLY I am not a pediatrician nor do I claim to be and this post is not about developmental delays but people really just love to comment and cannot help themselves. WHEW, I am glad I got that out. Anyway, my point is moms, if the kid next to you is walking and talking and solving complex math problems and your kid is trying to eat out of the garbage can and has zero interest in walking yet, they might just be on their own schedule, and that is okay. It’s not a race, and if you are friends with one of those moms who wants to make it a race all the time (we all know one of those) just remind her that they are all different in their own way.