Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Different Kids, Different Ages, Different Stages...It's ALL GOOD!

Admit it...you've been one of those moms.  The mom who's child is talking first, going on the potty first, walking first...whatever.  Even if you have enough willpower to not say it out loud, you've definitely thought it.  "Oh, John's walking already?  What is he, 12 months?" you say, then think to yourself, my Sally was walking at 8 months!  Even if we aren't competitive, it's part of our nature as mothers to want our children to do well and be the best at everything they do.  

Callie started walking at 9 months old.  She started out walking along tables and couches, and before long, she was taking steps unassisted.  Then, she was talking.  When I say talking, I mean, chatting up a storm.  I was constantly amazed at how we were having conversations so early on.  We started potty training at the age of 2, and while she still had accidents throughout the year (and still do sometimes), she was fully potty trained by the time she was 3 years old.  She became advanced at everything she tried almost immediately; puzzles, games, sports of any kind.  We have always been so proud.  I tried not to be one of those moms....but often times I failed miserably.

Then came along Clayton.  While he started sleeping through the night at 6 months old (Callie didn't until she was 2), everything else was much slower.  He didn't crawl until he was 7 months old, much different than Callie, although I can't remember her exact age, I know it was sooner.  He didn't walk until he was 12 months old, and now he's 2 and still not talking a whole lot, he just screams "mommy" and points when he wants something.  If I don't understand what he wants, Callie translates.  When it comes to puzzles or games, he throws them.  Books, he rips the pages, while Callie sits patiently, waiting to actually hear the story.  Potty training?  Ha!  Not even in the cards yet-he runs when I even want to change his diaper...or mention the toilet.

You always hear, all children are different.  But, I'm not sure we really get it.   Studies show crawling or scooting can begin somewhere around 3-6 months, and is normal to be seen at 6-9 months.  Normal walking ages begin from 9 months, up to 15 months.  While 18 months is a little late, it could just be unusual and not a sign your child is significantly behind or that something is wrong.    From 18 to 24 months, (though there is a lot of variability) most toddlers are saying about 20 words by 18 months and 50 or more words by the time they turn 2. By age 2, kids are starting to combine two words to make simple sentences, such as "baby crying" or "Daddy big." A 2-year-old should also be able to identify common objects, common pictured objects, indicate body parts on self when labeled, and follow two-step commands (such as "Please pick up the toy and give it to me").

Am I going to have a breakdown or feel Clayton is completely behind because he's not talking as fast as his sister, or because he's behind what experts say is normal?  No.  Maybe I would have with Callie, but after two children I've learned that there are too many variables.  If you notice the statistics above, there's one similarity: they vary greatly in age.  There's no way for an expert to tell you the exact month a child should be doing this or that, because they all are different and grow at different paces.  Throw a sibling into the mix, and you have an entirely new set of variables.  Callie constantly is answering for Clayton, or asking questions for him.  The poor boy doesn't have time to talk half the time because his sister is chatty kathy! 

Stop comparing not only yourself as a mom, but your child to other people's children.  I guarantee your child is going to excel in some areas and do some things quicker - whether it be potty training or learning to read.  Then, there will be areas other children will do better in or do faster than your child.  It's an obvious conclusion, but one we still have a difficult time grasping as mothers.  I can't tell you how often I hear, "but, so and so's child is doing this.  I must be doing something wrong."  Including myself.  We aren't doing something wrong.  Our children are just huge blessings from God, and have their own agendas as far as how fast or slow they are going to advance.  Lets revel and support their growth, no matter what the pace.


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