When will they start smiling?
When will they start laughing?
When will they finally roll over?
Are they reaching all their milestones?
It’s so easy as first-time parents to become fixated on all the things your baby needs to do or “should” be doing by a certain age. Especially if we see that other babies their age are already doing it. We ask ourselves things like, “Their baby is grabbing his feet, why isn’t mine?”In fact, we get so caught up on things like that, that sometimes we forget to just enjoy the moments.
Like the first moment I ever heard my daughter laugh.
She was in her sit-me-up and I was making faces at her, enjoying some time while my husband was working on his music. I didn’t do anything out of the ordinary and yet she laughed. Even my husband heard it from across the room at his desk. I was overjoyed, and my husband even came over to see for himself. She was smiling afterward and I tried to get her to do it again but instead, she just kept smiling. Her laugh was the most beautiful thing I’d ever heard and I couldn’t wait to hear it again.
Only, I have yet to hear it again and it’s been weeks.
I tried everything, including tickling her and making silly faces but all she did was smile. I was desperate to check it off her list of milestones but I didn’t know if I could or not because it had only happened once. She hasn’t done it again since that day.
So, I stared at that marker on the milestone checklist and debated. Had she really accomplished it? Should I check it off of my list or should I wait? To make matters even more confusing, a few of my friends had babies around my daughter’s age and they were already socially laughing. Which meant I had a choice to make, should I stress about it or should I just check off the milestone list and wait?
I checked it off and chose to enjoy the social smiles while I waited for her to laugh again.
The same thing happened again when she rolled over for the first time. It was during her usual tummy time routine. She, of course, was getting frustrated and wanted to be placed on her back.
I saw that she was trying to maneuver herself into a position where she could roll over without assistance. I brought it to my husband’s attention and we just watched and waited. She got to her side with no problem but to go all the way to her back was proving more difficult than she had anticipated. All she had to do was throw her leg back and, hopefully, her body would follow. She kept swiveling her hips and leg back so that she could, hopefully, roll over. I resisted the urge to help her, she was so close. It took a little while but, several attempts later, she finally did it.
I could have wept with joy; my baby was officially rolling over by herself. A milestone that I had been waiting for her to accomplish and kind of stressing over prior to this point. I knew that was the end of productive tummy times but the beginning of a new stage. The rolling stage, segue, of course, to the crawling stage.
There was just one problem. Much like with the laughing milestone, she has yet to do it again. Instead, we’re back to tummy time where she just decides to give up and cries until I pick her up. I find myself saying to her “You can roll over” or “Instead of just lying there, why don’t you just roll over?” To say it’s frustrating would be an understatement. It’s downright disappointing.
We’ve all heard the saying “One step forward and two steps back.” Well, it’s no different when it comes to babies’ milestones. Yes, she’s reached some new ones recently, but that’s not stopping her from acting like she has no idea how to accomplish them again.
So, what do we do as parents?
Do we stress out and count it an unchecked milestone?
Do we check it off and obsess over when it will happen again?
Do we worry that our babies are not developing as they should?
The answer is actually simple, we check off the milestone because, believe it or not, they’ve accomplished it, even if it was only once. Then we wait.
We enjoy the moments in between while they’re smiling or cuddling with us before bed. We don’t let our friends’ babies discourage us or convince us that our baby “Should have accomplished that by now.” Most importantly we don’t let the milestone calendar stress us out.
We enjoy the moments with our little ones and let them develop on their own time.