Thanks for your kind words about our photos! I don't know how we'll decide.
So, today I am thinking a lot about the topic of comparing my child to other children. I always figured I would NEVER be that person who worried that my child wasn't doing what all the others seemed to be doing. I always told myself that "children will do things in their own time so there is no sense worrying about it." That was BEFORE I had Paige. I still tell myself those things, of course, but now I can't help but see what other toddlers who are Paige's age are doing and wonder when she'll be able to do those same things and *gasp* is she behind? This is when my mantra of "she'll do it in her own time, don't worry" kicks in. But then I worry. A little. I guess this is normal, from what I'm hearing, but I still feel silly for comparing my child to what others are doing. It doesn't help that I am CONSTANTLY asked "oh! Hey! Is she walking? No? Ohhhhhhh." or "She must be saying a few words now, right? No? Ohhhhhh...I'm sure she will soon." I get some version of this almost every time we are out and about. I just got the words question yesterday at the library. The woman then went on to tell me how her 5 year old was "saying 3-word sentences at 6 months" and that her 2-year old son is "a lot slower than that so she worried he needed speech therapy." This while I'm listening to him chat up the room and delight us with his sweet personality. He seemed so much older than two and I thought he was so charming. And she's sitting there worried about him? I looked at Little P and she seemed dazzled by the boy and all the toys. She didn't seem to care that she couldn't say any words yet. Those darn questions. They serve to make me feel a little neurotic and a little defensive...like I'm not doing enough to help her along. But that's just it. You can't rush along basic life skills. The truth is she WILL talk at some point...her crazy babbling tells me so...and she WILL walk at one point...she's cruising tentatively around the living room but refuses to hold my hands to let me help her at all (she wants to do everything herself and makes sure we know it). Like pregnancy and many other things in life, it's largely out of my own personal control.
Here is what I have learned and have decided on:
1. When people ask about my child's life skills, they are really asking because they want to compare their OWN kid to mine and see where they are measuring up against their own peers. So, if their kid did something earlier than mine they can feel a little bit better about things. Or, alternately, if their child HASN'T done something mine does, they will go and fret and worry and wonder if they are behind. There's nothing like self torture. Usually, the questions aren't about my kid per se...but all about making sure we are all on basically the same playing field and that we aren't alone in our plight. That someone out there understands that we have NO control over this stuff.
2. I have decided to keep a list of "Butt-in-ski" questions that people will be asking until the end of time (the questions that someone somewhere deemed ok to ask):
When are you two getting married?
When are you two gonna have kids already?
Are you pregnant? (this question is so rude...please don't ever ask someone this. It's so intrusive)
When are you due? (this one isn't a bad one...just a very common one)
Are you breastfeeding?
Is he/she sleeping through the night? (only serves to piss off the tired parent if the kid doesn't sleep)
Is he/she eating solids yet? and "what does she/he eat?"
Is she crawling?
Is he/she drinking from a cup yet?
Is he/she saying words yet?
Is he/she walking yet?
Are you going to have another baby soon?
These are the questions I've experienced in plenty thus far and I'm already curious about the ones yet to come. I can only imagine.
3. My kid is perfect. In my eyes, of course, but that's all I really care about anyway. Nobody asks "Is her sense of humor sparkling and complex yet?" or "is her smile lighting up the room?" or "is her laughter the most beautiful sound in the world?" It's a shame, too, because she's talented in those areas. I know she will be able to do all kinds of cool things soon enough. And time goes by so quickly! So, in the meantime, I may just start wearing earplugs and perfect my own skills of smiling and nodding.
(update: I had to add after Jesse's wonderful comment reminded me...that some people's questions ARE of good intent without judgement of self or others. That there is genuine interest and those questions are out of curiosity of what is to come for their own kids or just in general interest. That it's nice to be able to share triumphs or questions. I meant to add that, but forgot. Thanks Jesse!)