Thursday, November 15, 2007

Comparison shopping

Milestones never bothered me, I guess because they always gave me a chance to gloat.

If the developmental experts said babies Ladybug’s age should be able to stack three blocks, I’d brag to myself, “That was sooo two months ago.” If toddlers should be able to speak a half-dozen discernable words, I’d pat myself on the back that Ladybug was five times the conversationalist. Truth of the matter, I was feeling pretty good about Ladybug’s advancement.

And then I met her. The home-schooling mother of five whose two-year-old daughter could talk. Not just pointing-at-an-object-and-identifying-it talking; I mean full-blown sentences.

“Mommy, look at this book. Green is my favorite color,” the little girl said to her mother as I sat and watched in amazement. There was no lisping, no confusing l’s with w’s. I did a doubletake to make sure I was looking at the right child and not mistaking her for her older sister.

Nope, it was the two-year-old.

“How long has she been able to speak in full sentences?” I asked the mom in awe.

She thought about it for a minute and replied, “I don’t know. It’s been quite a while though.”

Oh, fine. Just dig the knife in deeper.

“Huh,” I said.

“Oh, you mean yours doesn’t use full sentences yet?”


“It must be because she’s learning two languages at the same time,” the mom tried to reassure me, referring to our attempts to raise Ladybug in English and my husband’s native French language.

“Uh-huh,” I responded a little too indignantly.

What the heck was wrong with me, getting jealous over some other two-year-old’s ability to talk? So what? For all I know, their idea of mother-and-daughter bonding could be sitting in a corner for hours doing flashcards – something not in my or Ladybug’s temperament.

And why am I even comparing my daughter to some stranger’s kid in the first place? Ladybug’s her own person, developing at the pace that’s right for her. I know that, I know that, I know that. But I guess that’s the flip side of tracking developmental milestones.

That said, I wonder how many blocks that little girl can stack?

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know why we do it. I think all moms are guilty to some degree just as the moms that have the kids who do everything early are guilty of bragging about it. Why can't we just let our kids be the little people they are? It seems we are always pushing them to be smarter and better than everyone else. I swore I would not do that to my fourth. There had been 8 years since our last baby and I had promised I would just let him be his own person and not force things on him. Well here we are at 14 months and he isn't walking. At 12 months it didn't bother me, but now it is driving me and hubby crazy worrying there is something wrong with him even though the doctor assures us he is just a late bloomer. He was born almost a month early so that could explain a little later. Anyway just wanted to say I totally understand what you are saying. Don't worry it normal just try not to convey your feelings to your child. They are always going to be the cutest and brightest in your eyes anyway.

November 16, 2007 at 10:11 AM  
Blogger Michelle Mahfoufi said...

I agree with you on all points, especially the last. And that's all that should matter.

November 20, 2007 at 11:15 AM  

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