Keeping up with the junior Joneses
At Evan's 6 month appointment, he wasn't yet doing a number of the things on the 6 month developmental checklist. He could sit independently and stand holding onto something, but he still couldn't roll over or pass a toy from hand to hand. I was a little concerned, and couldn't shake the feeling that something about the way he was using his arms and upper body just didn't seem right. "Let's give him some more time," my pediatrician suggested. "He's doing a few things, like the standing, early. So let's wait and see."
Sure enough, by Evan's 9 month appointment, he had learned to roll (though he still only did it sporadically) and was much more proficient with his hands. But I had a new list of worries. He didn't pull up, didn't cruise, didn't crawl, didn't get into a sitting position on his own. Basically, he just sat there, the same as he had three months earlier. "Let's give him some more time," my pediatrician said. I agreed again because I trust my pediatrician implicitly, but this time I wanted a deadline. I didn't want to bring a sitting lump into his 1 year appointment. "I don't care about the crawling. But if he's not pulling up and getting into a sitting position on his own by 11 months, I want you to call me," she answered. "But don't worry... I don't expect to hear from you." I smiled and thanked her. And then I went home and worried, mentally ticking of the days until Evan would turn 11 months.
At 10 months, there was still little change in Evan's accomplishments (he could pull up if I placed him in exactly the right spot, but that was about it) and I was fighting to quell a constant urge to lunge for the phone and demand an immediate evaluation. By 10 month, 1 week, he was still just sitting there and I was literally sitting on my hands. At 10 1/2 months, he started to inch forward. At 10 months 3 weeks, he figured out how to get into a sitting position. We promptly dropped the crib mattress and not a day too soon -- the next day, I found him standing in his crib. That same week, he started pulling up and trying to let go and stand on his own. A day or two later, he suddenly wanted to walk everywhere while holding onto my hands or pushing a toy. And yesterday, on the very day he hit 11 months, he crawled over to the Lego table, pulled himself up and as I watched in horror, he cruised along the table, transferred himself to a doll highchair, went from there to Julia's play kitchen (have I mentioned before how overrun this room is with toys?) and proceeded to pull a huge box of Melissa & Doug wooden produce over on top of his head. Definitely not a lump any more, though he sure had one on his forehead after that little move.
So I was feeling pretty fabulous about all of this, and singing the praises of Dr. Singer, who knows my kids so perfectly. Finally, I thought, my baby boy was where he was supposed to be developmentally. I basked in that glow for exactly 6 hours. Then the latest BabyCenter "Your Baby This Week" email newsletter arrived in my inbox (why do I continue to read these things?). And would you believe they expect him to be doing things like squatting down to retrieve objects and then standing back up already???
I used to love getting those silly BabyCenter emails when Julia was a baby. She was always so far ahead that they would be talking about skills she'd mastered weeks or months before, and as a first time Mommy, I could read them and gloat about how advanced she was (I realize that this admission doesn't paint all that flattering a picture of me, but so be it). But with Evan, they just make me tense. Each child at his own rate... I know, I know. He always catches up. Even so, I think it's time to unsubscribe to BabyCenter. I don't need the pressure. I now have a whole new list of questions and concerns to raise when we see Dr. Singer again next month. I have no doubt that once again, she'll tell me to give him more time. I have no doubt that I'll worry incessantly as I do so. And I also have no doubt (well, OK, almost none) that in the end, she'll be right again.