Maybe I’m way too laid back for a first timer. I don’t think I have been documenting milestones like I should be. I picture other first-time moms having a huge poster in the nursery and checking off each thing that Baby achieves. Baby slept for 4 hours last night. Baby had ten wet diapers today. Baby turned head 30 degrees to the left. Baby gained 8 ounces.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m very in tune with what Parker is and is not doing. For starters, he’s rocking the 98th percentile across the board. He smiles like a maniac and is almost laughing. He prefers gnawing on his hands and burp cloths to pacifiers and rattles. He is this close to rolling over. Yesterday he grabbed his foot, which I see as an improvement over not even knowing his lower trunk existed. However, I don’t have a stopwatch and a chart handy, making sure he’s keeping up with the Joneses, or maybe Penelope Kardashian, in terms of milestones. The way I see it, if something is wrong, I’ll know. Why stress about the fact that my Your Baby’s First Year Week-by-Week book says that he should have made a cooing noise two days ago, not today. Oh no! What will we do!? I better get him to a speech pathologist ASAP! (Side note: that book also says that my 15 week old baby should weigh somewhere around 12 pounds. Not 15. I don’t follow it too closely…)
I certainly stress out about other parts of my life, but with Parker, I seem to be more concerned with developmental aspects like watching television and being overstimulated by noisy, light-up toys, than I am with making sure he always burps after each bottle, or keeping his room at a precise 70 degrees. I am, of course, at all times concerned for his health and safety, but I think that because I grew up in a family that let me get dirty and take risks, I will naturally parent that way too. Don’t worry, I wash my hands a bazillion times a day, and yes, I bathe him regularly. I just don’t sweat the small stuff. So he spit up five times on that shirt. Is it bothering him? Judging by his smiles, he seems to think spitting up is hilarious. And if I change it, he’s just gonna do it again. I have a two-shirt a day limit, people. I can’t be doing laundry every fifteen minutes. We’ve got the environment to think about here.
As a teacher, I see what the two extremes can do. Many of my top performing students have “helicopter parents” who email me four times a week to ask why Sarah’s A- can’t be raised to an A with extra credit. These parents have unknowingly created children who are not self-sufficient and often lack the responsibility to approach their own teachers rather than letting their parents do it for them. A lot of these students are so focused on achievement and grades that they sometimes forget that they are just kids. Live a little! On the opposite end of this spectrum, there are the parents who put little or no effort into raising their children. These kids come to me with no boundaries, few social skills and a lack of creativity. I hope to put myself right in the middle. To me, that’s the best for my child.
So maybe I am not part of the Milestone Patrol, but you know what? My kid seems to be doing alright, and I seem to be a lot less stressed than some other first timers. I’ll take both. Happy Baby + Happy Mommy = Awesomeness.