Spoonful Test Blog

Monday, September 16, 2013

Baby Wars

The internet is a fantastic resource.  It has helped me to learn, keep in touch with friends, and even make new friends.  It holds a world of knowledge (hello, Wikipedia!) and can be a really great thing.

The internet has also made it easier to compare.  We compare our lives with those of our Facebook friends, we compare our jobs with people on discussion boards, we compare our mommy skills with those of other moms in mommy forums.  It's never ending, and it isn't healthy.

Between mommy forums, Facebook, Pinterest, and blogs, there are an awful lot of babies that come across my computer screen everyday.  It has become way too easy to compare Gibson to these babies.  I mean, I know my kid is the cutest one in the world, so there's no comparison there.  But developmentally, it is hard not to compare babies.

Let's use Gibson's newest skill as an example.  He has started to do Beyonce's "Single Ladies" dance within the last few days.

*Sidenote: this is seriously something he has started to do.  He waves his hand back and forth all sassy-like.  Like this:


Anyway.  Back to my example.  So, let's say that Babycenter says that doing the "Single Ladies" dance is a developmental milestone that most babies reach when they're 8 months old.  This is common knowledge; it's even in the What to Expect books!  Every new mom knows that their baby should start doing this around 8 months.

But Gibson is only 6 months old!  He's obviously very smart, and basically a super baby.

So I post on the Babycenter forums about my genius child and his dancing skillz.  All of the other moms with six-month-old babies start doubting their babies' intelligence and physical prowess.  Suddenly, half of the posts on Babycenter are moms freaking out, saying, "Is my baby the only one who isn't doing the 'Single Ladies' dance yet?  Is my baby behind?  Do I need to ask my pediatrician about this???  HE'LL NEVER GET INTO CORNELL IF HE CAN'T EVEN DO THE SINGLE LADIES DANCE!"

Before Facebook and discussion forums and blogs, I wouldn't have been able to broadcast the fact that my baby is a super genius to such a large group of people.  I might have told our families and some close friends about his amazing dance skills, but that's it.  Other moms wouldn't have been able to compare their baby's developmental milestones to Gibson, because they never would have known.

What would it be like if we couldn't compare our babies to their peers on the internet?  Would we relax a little about them meeting their developmental milestones?  Would they be able to develop at their own pace without mom pushing them to do it sooner?

Yes.  I think so.

I am definitely guilty of comparing Gibson to other babies.  It's hard not to!  When I see that other babies his age are crawling, starting to talk, rolling over consistently, ballroom dancing...it's really hard not to wonder whether he is "okay."

But shouldn't I celebrate every little thing he does?  I mean, he was born half a year ago...that's not a long time.  And when he was born he could poop, cry, sleep, and eat.  That's it.  Now he can sit up, laugh, smile, roll over...isn't that amazing?  He has accomplished more in six months than I'll accomplish in the next two years.  And he will continue to grow and learn over the next six months...so why do I wish that he would just do it faster?

But he already is!  He has learned so much in his short life.  Every baby is super baby, even if they don't meet developmental milestones early, or even on time.  Babies start out being able to do very little...we should celebrate every tiny thing they accomplish, no matter when they do it.  I have found myself thinking, "Well, Gibson can sit up, but he can't crawl yet."  So what?  Should I downplay Gibson's accomplishments just because other babies have accomplished "more?"

I understand that there is a time to be concerned about your baby's development...but that concern shouldn't be affected by what other babies are doing.  Every baby develops at a different pace.  When Gibson is in kindergarten will it matter that he did the "Single Ladies" dance before the developmental timeline said he should?  Not at all.  So why should it matter now?

We moms also have to remember that, because every baby is different, every mom has a different idea of what is "normal."  For me, it seems like every baby should start dancing like Beyonce at around 6 months, because that's what my baby did.  It can be hard not to project my own ideas of what babies "should" be doing onto other kids, but we really need to try not to.  I shouldn't expect another child to develop on the same timeline that Gibson does, just like I shouldn't expect Gibson to develop just like another baby.

So here's what we should all do: celebrate our babies' milestones, and congratulate other babies on theirs.  Without comparing.  Without thinking, "That baby is just now doing the "Single Ladies" dance?  Gibson did that months ago!  He's obviously a genius" or "Wow, I can't believe that baby is ballroom dancing already!  Gibson must be really behind...we'll have to work on that."  Babies grow up too fast; why push them to grow up faster?

If your baby is six months old and isn't dancing as well as Gibson quite yet, don't worry!  It'll be okay, I promise.  He'll dance in due time.  In the meantime, he's probably working on meeting more useful milestones that Gibson hasn't yet...like cleaning his room.  And massaging your feet.

Wouldn't that be nice?

4 comments :

  1. Love this post Erin! I find myself sometimes comparing Ethan to Gibson since they're just a day apart and Gibson does awesome things like sitting up like a champ and playing nicely and quietly :P it's hard not to!

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    1. Haha! I do it, too! Danny will come home and I say, "Ethan is saying 'mama!' Should Gibson be doing that, too?" It's super hard, and I need to remind myself that they're different babies who develop differently. Even though they should totally be best friends. :)

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    2. I like that idea! Then Gibson can help Ethan practice his sitting, and Ethan can teach Gibson to say mama and dada (yep, that one started last night!) and they can just take over the world together :D

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    3. Yay Ethan! Gibson can say "Boof" ... does that count as a word? :P He loves watching videos of babies, so we definitely watched the video you posted of Ethan saying mama a few times. You should post one of him saying dada so Gibson can learn that!

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