Friday, June 28, 2013

Is He Walking Yet?

Baby is 6 months old. When the hell did that happen?!? More importantly, how do I make it stop?

People are often anxious to ask and/or hear about a baby's development. When your baby is topping off the growth and development charts people seem even more enthusiastic. Baby just turned 6 months old, but he looks much older. I often get the question "is he walking yet?".  Usually I simply answer with "no, he's 6 months old" however often times this just leads to a scaled back inquiry of his developmental milestones. Is he crawling yet? What kinds of foods is he eating? Does he have teeth? The list is endless.

The older Baby gets, the more pressure I feel to answer the questions 'correctly'. What does that even mean? IDK. Anyway, now that he's 6 months old, I don't want to answer wrong and leave someone thinking 'oh that baby is kinda slow in developing'. So I try to make the answer sound as developmental milestone-y as possible. "No, he's not crawling yet, but he really moves quick on his belly'. Or 'he has been eating some foods at dinner time, but not really any meals or anything'.

Today, or maybe yesterday I'm not really sure when because time seems kind of blurry lately, I realized that in my haste and eagerness to give the 'right' answer I am wishing away some of my favorite moments.

When someone asks "What kind of foods is he eating?" I am eager to tell them we've tried this or that so that they will know he is eating solid food. But at the same time I'm emphasizing the carrot stick he chewed on, I'm not relishing that he hasn't really shown any desire to wean. I don't want him to wean. I enjoy breastfeeding, and often I wish we could go back to the drowsy lazy nursing of his first months. So why do I wish it away by talking up the food he isn't really eating.

When someone asks "Is he crawling yet?" I talk about all the ways he is almost crawling. He gets up on all fours. He army crawls on his belly. He can roll all around the room. He is only days away from getting the hang of it...But really, what's the rush? Won't he have his whole life to be on the move? Do I really need to push him into this go-go-go world? He's just a baby, and he has already traded in sitting on my lap and snuggling close for looking out the window or reaching for anything he thinks he can get his hands on.

I'm not sure what it is about that desire to meet the implied standards of family, friends, or complete strangers. I'm not sure why someone can say "Is he walking yet?" but what I hear is "He should be walking". But as of today I'm going to recognize the pattern, and I'm going to do my best to put an end to the cycle. Baby isn't in a competition with anyone. Not with my friend's baby, not with the Gerber baby, not with the average baby on the pediatrician's growth chart. His development need only be as fast as it is. And given my emotional state lately I'd say his rate is plenty fast enough for the both of us. I'm not quite ready for him to be crawling. I don't want him to start eating more food and nursing less. So I'm going to give my best effort to stop wishing the time away.

Is he walking yet? No. And I hope he will give me just a little more time before he starts.


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