Wednesday 21 March 2012

I bet mine is bigger than yours

Nothing prepares you for the competition that is being a parent.  Every mum seems to exaggerate what her child can do, pushing them and hoping for them to reach those milestones before her peers.  There are so many websites telling us what our baby should be doing at each age, and the pressure to have a baby who is 'advanced' is unbelievable.

Baby websites are full of well meaning advice and tick lists to measure your child's development against.
 I think that these are a massive culprit behind the competition, as parents can see whether their child is on track, ahead or behind.  The parents of those children 'behind schedule' then feel like they are doing something wrong, or that there is a problem with their child when in fact, all babies are different. Each one develops at it's own pace, and by the time they start school you will never be able to tell which baby walked at 9 months and which one didn't crawl until it was a year.

Without wanting to classify Dylan, I would say he is pretty average.  If I compared him to Fisher Price's checklist however, which says:

Your 7 month old :
- Can support all of his weight when holding on to furniture (I can stand Dylan up leaning on a sofa and he stays upright)
- May be able to walk from place to place clinging to furniture (Not even close)
- From his tummy he can creep forward (from his tummy he can roll onto his back.  No creeping here)
- He rocks when on his hands and knees (He won't go on his hands and knees even if I try and push them underneath him, he just rolls onto his back)

When I read this, it makes my son seem behind his developmental targets, however when I compare him to other babies his age, I know of very few that are filling all these points!
baby genius, clever baby, baby competition
baby genius tells me that at 7 months my baby might be able to wave bye-bye, play patt-a-cake and blow kisses.  We are a behind here as well!  In fact there is only one set of milestones that I am certain we are well ahead on.  Height and weight.  Dylan has never been a small baby and at his last weigh in (he was just over 6 months) he tipped the scales at a whopping 20lb12.  Last time we had his height measured he was above the 99th centile.  So there you go, I bet my child is bigger than yours!

Every time I am around other mums, I cannot help but get drawn into the conversation about how early they first rolled over/ sat unaided/ got their first tooth, however I am quite impressed that at 7 months we still have a gummy grin as I am not looking forward to being bitten!  I saw a great comment on the bounty facebook page (which is full of competition) in response to a 'what was your child doing at 6 months' comment, which went something along the lines of,

"At 6 months my daughter was reading books meant for 12 year olds, playing keyboard at a grade 7 and cooking amazing choclate brownies"

I loved this response! Who cares if your baby isn't meeting the milestones as long as they are happy and healthy.  They all get there eventually.  Dylan is a gorgeous little boy who can sit and roll, and truth be told I quite like him being where I left him if I leave the room.  He can put off the crawling for a few more months if he wants to!


  1. This is a great article Bex, and so true. I am a big fan of parenting books I have to confess, and the "What to Expect" series is a particular favourite of mine. I was laughing very recently when I flicked through my copy only to see I had ticked some of the 'by this age your baby should be...' points and dated them too. At that point I felt like I should have been keeping a log of every little thing Nia was able to master. How my view changed with my second - I am now a firm believer in 'they will do it when they are good and ready and not a moment before!'

    J x

    Ps - Love the photos you've used here!

    1. Thank you for the comment!

      I spent my entire pregnancy reading the books and reading everything I can find but I have given up now. I think everyone is more relaxed with the second too. You don't have the time to be ticking the charts!

  2. This is so true, to the point where I've stopped seeing some of my 'mum' friends who constantly ask how heavy my baby is / what size nappies he is wearing / is he doing x...? I found our meetings turned into comparing who was doing what and although I really don't think it was meant in a competitive way, it really makes me feel anxious and defensive.

    To be fair, for the most part, the babies are the main thing we have in common and conversation inevitably turns to what they are doing and its hard not to compare if they are similar ages. But I really feel so much more relaxed now that we're just getting on with things on our own.

    Don't wish the time away wishing they were doing the 'next stage'!

    Lovely blog x

    1. I know what you mean, it is hard not to compare them, but I think that there is a difference between comparing and competing. I am loving this stage as he (mostly) stays put!

  3. Fabulous article hun. This is so true and I often think this 'school gate culture' begins the second you give birth. It's the reason so many mummies feel alone because when they worry about their child they can't discuss it without someone making them feel their child is inaqueate when actually they aren't! x

  4. so true, my facebook is full of it 'oh my little man/lady has just done blar blar'x each child does things when they want to, theres no forceing them, as i found out with my little dude who only started walking at 18months, but he did it, in his own time. x

    1. well done on him for those first steps. The longer they make you wait, the more you appreciate it! Someone obviously told him that.

  5. Oh, such a great post! Completely agree with you. A police officer once said to me that even the most hardened of criminals can roll over, walk, use the what's the big deal?! Babies are individuals after all and will do things at different times.

  6. It's irresistible to look to see "how your baby's doing" and yet so utterly pointless. The thing that gets me the most is the pressure around weaning and eating solids, no matter what you do, when - no one grows up not eating solids! Surely!
    Thanks for sharing :)

    1. Thanks for commenting. There is so much conflicting advice given around weaning that common sense seems to have been forgotten along the way!

  7. I was so excited when Dylan got his first tooth this weekend, nothing wrong with sharing that!


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