My baby is 18 months old. Well, 18 and a half. So that means she should be a toddler, but the thing is, she’s largely still a baby.
She crawled at 14 months, and while she’s made some strides physically, she’s not walking yet. She babbles like a champ, but isn’t much of a talker. I have to admit, sometimes I look around the playground wistfully, noticing what kids who are younger than her are already doing. Sometimes, I get toddler envy.
I’ve got the 18-month pediatrician visit coming up later this week, and I’m pretty sure what I’ll be told: That my daughter is progressing. Kids don’t always hit the milestones on time, but if they’re progressing, then there’s no cause for alarm.
As you might have guessed, I’ve heard this at earlier visits. My daughter is behind other kids, but she’s moving forward.
We’re in a competitive culture, one that values achievement. And sometimes it’s hard not to get caught up in that.
It’s a fine line between concerns of developmental delays, and our hopes for our children. Sometimes anxiety can take over, and we conflate the two.
Sure, I’d love if my daughter had raced to the head of the pack. As parents, we have tendencies to read the tea leaves. We want to know how it’s going to turn out, when attempting an endeavor that’s as inherently risky as parenting. We’re told, over and over, that there are no guarantees.
But, we think, if our kid can walk early and talk early, maybe that’s a sign. Maybe we don’t have to worry so much.
The reality is, parenting is anxiety-provoking. There are a lot of ways things can go wrong. And even if our kids have a vocabulary of 20 words by the time they’re 18-months-old, or can run at a year, we still have no guarantees.
My daughter isn’t keeping up with the Joneses at the moment. She’s crawling behind them. But she’s loved and happy and emotionally attached to her father and me. We need to watch for the milestones and talk to our doctor without becoming obsessed.
Because there are no guarantees, other than the love I’m always going to feel.
Toddler crawling image available from Shutterstock.