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Monday, March 10, 2014

Baby milestones: I WAS WRONG. I CARE SO MUCH.

When Audrey was a little younger, I wrote a post about how stupid it is to get caught up in milestones and how old your baby is when he achieves them. And I still stand by that post -- it is truly stupid to worry about how old your baby was when she finally learned to sit up on her own. It has no effect on how she will perform as an adult.

This motherf***er wasn't potty-trained until he was nine years old.*

*I completely made this up

BUT ... even though I think it's stupid and even though I know I shouldn't care ... it turns out that I care SO MUCH.

Audrey has entered that phase of her life when a lot of things start happening at once and when different babies start punching through milestones like the easy chores on your Sunday to-do list (stuff like "start laundry." Come on, that's a chore!?? It takes two seconds to put the clothes in the machine and pour in some soap! Do you really get satisfaction from crossing that one off the list? YOU SHOULDN'T.). 

Rolling over, sitting up, waving, first words, standing, crawling ... all of these things happen quickly and Audrey is right in the thick of when all this shit should be going down.

At first, I was blithely unconcerned about her progress. But then again, of course I was unconcerned -- she gave out her first smile at 6 weeks exactly.

She didn't wait until eight weeks like all those other, dumber babies.

But then ... she started to fall behind.

You see, Audrey's cousin is almost exactly a year older than her, which makes it very easy for me to compare the two of them in my mind. I just remember what H was doing at this exact same time last year, and BAM -- my kid seems inadequate. Over a year ago, we all babysat for H so her parents could go to a wedding, and I remember H rolling over onto her belly every time I tried to put her in her activity gym. Then I see a "happy first anniversary" post on Facebook to the couple who got married and I'm like "oh f***, Audrey is barely even TRYING to roll over and H could do it no problem when she was the same age!"


And then I see a friend complaining about having to start baby-proofing already because her 6-month old has started crawling. SIX MONTHS OLD AND CRAWLING?? Audrey will be six months in a few weeks and she doesn't even know what crawling is. I assume it will be at least another six months before she learns how to do it! She can't even roll over yet for chrissakes!


So of course I did what any reasonable parent would do in this situation: I set up a bunch of toys in a big ring on a blanket, put Audrey in the middle, and told her she wouldn't get to play with any of the toys until she could roll far enough to reach them. 

If a baby has ever kidnapped your loved ones and won't tell you where they are, this is an excellent way of making them talk.

For hours* she toiled, flipping up onto her side and flicking her fingers at the turtle she so desperately wanted. I would push the button to make the turtle sing and light up, showing Audrey just exactly what she was missing. "I bet you want to push the buttons and make the turtle light up," I taunted her. "But you can't reach it so you'll just have to watch me play with it instead." She tried rolling the other direction and was able to reach her snail without completing the roll ... so I moved the snail another inch farther away from her. "You're not leaving this blanket until you learn how to roll," I told her. "Or until you get hungry or tired or fussy or you poop or one of us loses interest."

*it was actually for minutes, but "for hours" sounds a lot more dramatic

And you know what? By the end of the weekend, she could roll 98% of the way over.

Just gotta figure out how to tuck that right shoulder under and she'll be there.

I was so relieved. Maybe she won't develop a cure for cancer like her cousin or that chick on the internet with the crawling 6-month-old, but at least she won't be digging graves for a living.


I dunno. It pretty much depends on how old she is when she figures out walking.

Worst case scenario, there's always Hollywood.


  1. I felt the same way! I thought I wouldn't care about milestones, but then I couldn't stop myself from comparing to everyone and wanting to be "ahead." The good news for me at least was that by the time my kiddo turned one and started walking, I pretty much didn't care anymore. There are a few milestones after that that I noticed, but he was doing so much by that point anyway that the concrete milestones didn't matter nearly as much as they did when he was a baby. Until then, keep pushing lil Audrey so she'll stay ahead of the game. :-P Love your writing!! --Val

    1. Right?!?! They suck you in by convincing you that if your kid doesn't keep up with the pack, then they must be "below average" in every way ... and then you're freaking out over it. Even though it doesn't matter ... it matters infinitely. Haha I sort of can't wait for her to start walking and then I can relax on all this madness. Especially because walking is the one everyone ELSE will judge your kid for. "Oh, fifteen months and still not walking? Well, that's okay ... plenty of money to be made collecting garbage for a living."