Monday, October 4, 2010

Every Baby is Unique (or, Don't Worry! They'll Be Fine)

I hear a lot of comarison about babies, especially from moms - "That baby is already walking!" "My baby isn't crawling yet, I'm really worried." "_______ is already eating baby food." "So-and-so is still nursing her baby!" Some of these comments are just that - comments. But I've come to realize, a lot of people worry about their babies not meeting milestones at the "RIGHT" time. Here's the deal:

Every baby, every child, is unique.

They will grow and develop at their own rate, the rate God programmed in their DNA before they were even born. And they will be ok. In fact, they will be great.

I think this is a pet peeve of mine because Cadence is very unique. I hear it all the time. "She is so tiny - aren't you worried about her?" "She still nurses? Aren't you worried about that? Shouldn't she be eating more food?" And before she learned to walk - "She's still not walking? Aren't you worried about that?"

All of these comments imply there is something wrong with Cadence. They imply there is some dread disease or developmental problem affecting her life. What's wrong with looking at a baby and saying, "That baby is clearly happy, healthy, and learning new things. Nothing to worry about there!"

The difference between these worry-worts and me is, they see a unique baby and think "Wrong!". I see a unique baby and think "Different!"

Maybe it's because Cadence was my first baby, and I had no one to compare her to. I just assume everything she does is right for her. When she didn't walk by her first birthday, I thought nothing of it. Ok, well, I might have breathed a sigh of relief - my house was still safe from toddler-hood for the moment! I just thought, Cadence likes to be sure she can do something before she tries. She studies things, then when she's got it perfect in her mind, she does it. Sure enough, Cadence woke up one Saturday and decided she could walk. And she did. No falling down, no having to try several times, she just did it. When she turned out to be tiny, I thought, Well, duh, Tony and I aren't exactly huge. It's not like I can force her to eat (and get fat) and I certainly am not going to stretch her out on a rack to make her taller. Since I can't change it, why would I worry about it? Sure enough, it turns out she is the perfect size for Cadence. She eats when she is hungry (she has a super fast metabolism, so this is about every hour) and she refuses to eat when she's not. She's growing slowly but surely, and will probably always be a cute, petite, dainty little girl.

Anyway, all rants aside, please take note. There's no need to worry! Babies all grow and develop at different rates, and they are all wonderful. Just look around at all the babies you know. They are all very unique, but they are all happy and healthy. And that is all that matters!

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