Saturday, August 2, 2014

Chasing After Milestones

I am very much a mover.  With a background in both dance and early childhood development, I have written and presented workshops advocating for authentic movement experiences for infants and toddlers.  After having my daughter El, I was (and still am) excited to watch her gross motor development naturally unfold. 

But in all honesty, I wish it would unfold a little faster. 

In previous blog posts I've discussed, disclosed and processed my internal impatience with El's gross motor development.  At first it was the 'rolling over' milestone that made me nervous, now a week shy of turning the big 1, El is not crawling, pulling up to stand, and avoids putting weight on her legs.  

I am continually challenged to TRUST that she knows what she's doing.  So far, her process has proven to be nothing short of fascinating and it gets her there eventually. 

However, what still surprises me is the undercurrent of anticipation, anxiety and the twinge of isolation that accompanies not being 
perched on top of the developmental bell curve.  

When I openly acknowledge that I struggle to be confident in El's gross motor development, I am met with the response, "Every child is different! You can't compare!"  
Unfortunately, it is human nature to compare and categorize.  I can't help but notice that at the park I am the only parent in our playgroup that still totes a blanket for El and I to camp out on.  As the other parents chase after their little movers, we are stationary like content little Buddhas. 

And then the overcompensation seeps in.  Last week I observed El as she stacked blocks. I Googled, "How old are children when they begin to stack blocks."  Baby Center said,  "18months."  

18 months!  

My baby is advanced at block stacking!  

That's why she's not crawling! She's too busy becoming a block stacking prodigy!

"Earlier is not better," said infant specialist Magda Gerber, but regrettably and with much guilt I admit, as a parent, earlier feels better. 

Despite my inner conflicts and insecurities, I remain committed to supporting El's natural gross motor development. 

When it comes to parenting, what I feel and what I know are often at odds.  But luckily, my brain routinely reminds my heart that her process is perfect and always will be.  

I'll someday reflect on our early days together and become overwhelmed with wonder and disbelief that El was once a small baby who loved nothing more than to cuddle on my lap, flip through book after book, and watch the world go by on a blanket in the front yard.  

Be sure to check out..

 Related posts 

The Benefits of Allowing Your Baby to Struggle

Practice What you Promise

Resources on natural gross motor development

Sitting Babies Up, the Down Side; Janet Lansbury 

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