Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Pass the Pinot #2: The Milestone Olympics

The competition amongst parents is indeed fierce. One of the most humbling and depressing experiences of my life was joining a new mothers group shortly after Audrey was born. Her autism wouldn’t be diagnosed for more than a year, but we were already running behind the competition.
Is she crawling yet? Is she pulling herself up yet? Is she walking yet? Is she saying any words? How many words? How many word sentences? Is she sleeping through the night? How many hours? One nap or two? What height percentile is she in? Still breastfeeding? Baby food or table food? Potty trained? For #1 and #2? Pull-up at night?
I guess that's what new mommy groups are for, but it's really only fun for the over-achievers in the group. Or that may just be my jaundiced view from the bottom of the heap. Audrey was late with every milestone from the very beginning: rolling over, pointing, clapping, crawling, walking. She even got "held back" for the first time before she was even one year old. When the group became too big, it was split between the first and second halves of the birth year. Audrey should have gone with the older kids from the first half of the year, but we went with the second-half crowd. When even those kids (some of whom were as much as 8 months younger than her) started walking before her, I was officially done. If these were the Olympics, then we were the Jamaican bobsled team. Hey, somebody's got to come in last.

Of all gripes in the typical parenting books, this is the one where the gulf is the widest between typical and special needs parents. In most cases, typical parents are not nagged by these questions for very long before their child does meet the milestone in question. For special needs parents, they may never be met...so it's a little bit more than a glancing blow to be on the receiving end of such inquiries. Audrey didn’t crawl until she was 19 months old, and didn’t walk until she was nearly 2 years old. She did not have a physical disability and I had no reason to think that she wasn't going to walk eventually, but that didn't stop me from convincing myself of just that. It seems so stupid now, but it was the longest year of my life waiting for her to walk.

The baby and toddler years are finally behind us, but the competition isn't. We'll probably never be completely free of gross motor-related hurdles (sports, ugh), but the emphasis has already shifted more towards the academic...and here is where we will get a little payback. Audrey wasn't just sitting on her diapered ass doing nothing for two years. She was teaching herself how to read and memorizing every sentence she ever saw. They stopped testing her reading skills this year when they got to the 3rd grade level. Maybe it's finally my turn for a little bragging rights. We may still be Jamaican, but it's the Summer Olympics now bizzotches.

9 comments:

  1. Very true! Love it. Great post. I am a mom of five boys and I find myself on both ends of the spectrum. Comparing and being compared.

    Stopping by from SITS.

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  2. Stopping by from the blogging event over at SITS and I can totally relate to you. It is hard watching your child not reach milestones on time. I took myself out of mommy groups becuase I felt I had nothing in common with them and the constant comparing was killing me.

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  3. Stopping by from SITS. I love how you ended it. Great post on something we all have trouble with.

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  4. I think this is my new favorite blog! I love how you don't sugar coat, but it's not so depressing! My daughter didn't walk until 2 years either, I'm so encouraged to see what Audrey is doing now! My Hannah is 4 and just starting to talk, I can't see what she actually has to say!

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  5. Thanks Cara! So glad to "meet" you. It definitely gets better and better...I'm sure that Hannah will have some amazing and hilarious things to say to you!

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  6. Love reading your blogs. The last line of this one really got me laughing. Yeah! So THERE! You rock! Audrey is lucky to have a mom with a sense of humor.

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  7. @Anonymous: Thanks for reading...you're really dipping back into the little-read archives!! I have to keep a sense of humor...it gets me through!

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  8. Ive been dipping back, too. ;) Hilarious.

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  9. HA...thanks! I have unanimity amongst my Anonymous readers!! I should think about re-posting this baby...

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