This piece is brought to you by SmarTrike but this is 100% my story.
You know what should be illegal? Googling kids developmental milestones. It makes you question if the thing you grew, and in fact gave birth to, is even human. If you believed what the ‘milestone’ pages tell you, your kid is pretty much completely useless and you should see every professional under the sun.
My kids were often so far from reaching these ‘crucial developmental milestones’ that I often felt pangs of worry and guilt that I was letting my mini humans down. I regularly felt like I was failing being a mum. Ever had a kid that just sits while all the other tots the same age are crawling around like crabs on red bull? My boys took their sweet time to crawl and then walking was something I’m pretty sure they considered optional for what seemed like a lifetime. It’s fair to say they did figure out how to do the crab and now opt to bolt everywhere because walking just don’t cut it anymore. (side note, do you notice that kids run everywhere? Like EVERYWHERE? To the toilet, to get a book, to watch the TV?)
It’s hilarious (and bloody exhausting) how you do your head in as a mum, all too often my brain will catch up with what my fingers are subconsciously typing into Google; “My son is still not crawling, does this mean he is broken?”,“My four year old can’t pronounce the letter ‘S’ properly, should I pay $6000 on speech therapy?”
I learnt the hard way that looking for reassurance when it comes to milestones for every single thing will make you stress your head off. Obviously the bigger ones are important (I guess) but people pull milestones out of their derriere’s for this and for that and if your kid does not reach them all on the exact date and hour you might as well return them and beg for a refund.
I’m four and half years into this parenting caper and I have chilled out on the Googling quite a lot, yes indeed my sons may not have been as advanced as ‘Sally’ and ‘Janet’s’ perfect kids from those mum forums I dabbled in. I mean sure Sal and Jan’s angels were smashing ‘self feeding’ and ‘tummy time’ out of the park but now at only four years old, my son can speak Spanish (excessive hours of Dora have come in VERY handy). Suck on that!
If I’m being honest though, I have kind of switched my good old mate Google/Crazy mum forums for real life comparisons. I’m not proud, but I think most of us do it to some extent. My second son Arlo has just turned two years old and we are regulars at our local park. The only redeeming thing about the park is seeing Arlo play with other kids his own age. I find it really comforting seeing him interact with these kids because it reassures me he is doing good, that he is keeping up with other kids his age, and nothing is flashing like a beacon to worry about, BUT, that doesn’t stop me from comparing him to the other kids which is as bad as the vicious Google/forum combo cycle.
One of the other regulars at our local park is five months older than Arlo and the kid can ride a bike. Not a training wheel in site. He comes up to my knee caps and goes for Sunday bike rides with his dad. “WHY CAN’T MY SON DO THAT?” My internal mind goes all-abusive and yells at me for not being more encouraging. He’s bang up for me pushing him on his explorer bike but isn’t ready to go solo on that baby yet. Maybe it’s time I kitted him up in lycra and get him on the road pronto. I often have to quietly remind myself that although he isn’t ready to tackle the Tour De France just yet, he is doing fine, better than fine, ‘normal’ even.
I think the moment our kids leave our bodies, we become prone to that fabulous old mole of a thing called worry. We just want our kids to be happy and healthy and unpack the dishwasher and make their own beds and wipe their own derrières and on top of that we want them to be ‘normal’, whatever the that is. Our kids develop at different times and stages in their lives and if you are a partial to google/forum punish like I was, quit it immediately and let’s inhale the deliciousness that our mini human’s are without the massive side of worry. Odds are they are bloody perfect.
* SmarTrike’s trikes have loads of developmental benefits and are designed to foster learning and development of children between ages 10-36 months. SmarTrike’s are also perfect for outdoor adventures.
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