I have a love/hate relationship with weekly emails from BabyCenter.
If you are pregnant, or are a parent, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
By this week your baby is…
And you read on to feel smug if your baby has already reached that milestone/developmental stage, or you are ashamed and feel like the worst parent in the world if your baby shows no signs of doing what they are supposed to be doing.
While I like reading these emails to see where most average babies are at this point in Claire’s life, I also sometimes feel like crap because she shows no signs of rolling over (which should’ve happened two weeks ago) and refuses to reach out for toys or even grab them (which should’ve happened last week).
I try my best to assist her. When she is on her stomach during tummy time, grunting and flailing her arms and legs, I place her limbs where they should be and flip her over to show her how it is done. Then I’ll flip her back as if to say, “Now you try.”
I wave toys in front of her…well, anything that seems to grab her attention and pull her arm out to set her hand on the object of interest. I place toys in her hands and position her little fingers in a grasping hold. And what does she do? She will pull her arm back and give me a look that plainly states, “Why are you doing that? I liked my arms and hands where they were.”
I know that every child develops at different rates, and that I should not worry unless the doctor gets concerned. But everytime I get those emails from BabyCenter, I let out a sigh and begrudgingly read what my child “should” be doing this week. Because if I don’t inform myself, how can I be prepared for other mommies who will inevitably ask about (and judge) my baby’s milestones? And will I ever have bragging rights aside from the fact that she was able to hold her head up just one day after she was born?
Then I remind myself that I am better than that. I know my child best, and I know that she will do these things when she is ready, not when some website says so.
And the next time a mom brags to me about her child’s early milestones, I can just retort, “Will you be bragging about your kid getting pubes early too?”