Parenting woes.

This topic has been on my mind a ton lately so I figured I'd write out my feelings for others to relate to or maybe learn from...Let me start here...

I have two healthy, amazing, fun young children.  When Asher was a baby, he exceeded  nearly all of his "milestones" until he started missing his speech milestones.  He was my first that I got to watch grow.  I was a stay at home mom and I'm a bit neurotic about teaching.  So I worked with him a ton.  We read everyday...all day.  He loved to read.  We used flash cards at an early age and he learned how to sign.  Of course he spoke, but not a ton.  At the time, a woman was in my life that I had considered a friend, though she truly wasn't and looking back I realized that her tearing me down was a way for her to feel better about herself.  But she would, nearly weekly, tell me how delayed my son was.  She would talk about her speech therapist friend, how she talked to her about my child, how she agreed that he was severely delayed even though she never met him.  She told me how brilliant her son was, and how severely lacking mine was.  

Though I stood my ground and knew deep down that my child was fine, her words stung and I continually questioned my parenting.  But I watched my child.  I saw how he was running and jumping at an early age.  He rode a 2 wheeler without training wheels before he was three.  He potty trained himself at two and a half.  This person, who was so hurtful, broke me a bit.  But then I started watching her son as she was watching mine.  He didn't jump when Asher jumped...he didn't didn't run when Asher ran...he still wasn't potty trained the last time we spoke which was nearly three.  None of which was bad or delayed in my eyes, but honestly, it felt so good to see her child not do things my child was doing. 

I hated feeling that way.  I felt like I was stooping to her level.  I would bring things up to her in a way to defend Asher.  And it troubled me.  I was judging her son, just as she was judging mine.  I justified it at the time by telling myself that I was just letting her see that all children grow in different stages...but in actuality, I was trying to hurt her as she had hurt me over and over again.  

We split ways a while ago and I have since realized that she was a person in need of help.  She was trying to make herself feel better.  She was trying to, and probably still, putting people down to build herself up and I'll probably meet another person like her in my lifetime.  A bully really.  Which I've never dealt with before, so it's taken me awhile to put it all into perspective.  And in the meantime, I've had Greyson who also, is a late talker.  And for awhile, I let her words creep back into my mind.  I keep worrying there's something wrong.  I feel like I have failed...again...even though I have tried so hard to bring him up and teach him.  But all of a sudden, just in the past few days, I've realized, that her hurtful words were just that.  Hurtful words.  Spoken by a bully who needs help.  And though I've always felt that children grow and learn on different time frames, and thankfully, most if not all of my friends feel the same, those words that were spoken over 3 years ago, still crept in and took root.  

So this is what I'd like to say...You can't put a child's development in a box.  They are literally all different.  And another thing is that it takes a village to raise a child.  It takes the help of our family and friends, their encouragement and love and support.  Not judgement. 

I believe that growth milestones are horrible things for the most part.  My childrens height and weight have been nearly always in the 90-100 percentile.  Luckily their doctor rocks and even in their more girthy stages, she never labeled them overweight.  I have friends with children who are barely registering on the milestones and some of their doctors have labeled them as too little...but they eat like horses and are super healthy.  Yes, there are those who are actually too heavy or too thin...but if your child is eating and healthy...they are probably fine!  and vice-versa.  Some kids are just tiny....some are giants...hence my children.  

I also believe that developmental milestones are nearly the same thing.  I think they are awesome in a way...I like to see what my child will start doing within each particular month...but what if they don't start doing it?  What if they don't start for months and months.  What if people you know start labeling them as delayed?   How would that make you feel?  I think these milestones are a good gauge and you should pay attention to your own child.  Watch what they're doing and if you're concerned, talk to your doctor...but follow your instincts too.  

We have just recently had Greyson checked with Early On for his speech.  He's still not speaking, but does use signs.  He passed all milestones but speech.  So he's getting therapy.  And I love it.  We are learning new techniques to help him speak.  But the more I research his milestones the more my concerns melt away.  He is doing physical things that far exceed his expected milestones.  Things like jumping and pedaling and running.  He's super active and super physical.  And all of a sudden I've realized that those hurtful things said by that hurtful person so long ago had crept back in and made me feel inept and scared for my child.  When in reality, my children are awesome.  They are fine.  

So here's the thing.  Love on your family and friends.  Encourage them, so they can be empowered to listen to their own instincts.  Don't judge other's children, instead use that time to love on and listen to and observe your own children.  Raise your child in love and show that love to your family and friends.  Let's focus on our own families as well as supporting our friends rather than breaking them down.  Words hurt.  And they last, no matter how much you justify your responses.  


Tali said…
amen to all of it! We worry unnecessarily due to pressure we put on ourselves and our kids. I always tell myself they are humans and not robots! Good for you for recognizing this and moving on! (but of course I still worry too)
And for the record, my mom evaluates children for Early On therapies and even though Piper is barely speaking and is almost 2, she says she is just fine! Everyone seems to have an opinion, but it's the people that matter and actually know that we must listen to!
Stay strong (and awesome!) :)

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