In my eyes, K is perfect. Like any mother with her child, I could write paragraph upon paragraph outlining the ways I think she is special, wonderful, and amazing. Despite my obvious bias, I am also (sorta) honest with myself. K does things on her own time; and not a minute before. This started early on with tummy time, continued on to crawling, standing, walking, first spoken syllables, first spoken words, and the list goes on. She has never been the first kid in the pack to hit her developmental milestones.
When K wasn’t walking at the requisite 12 months, my mom told me, “Every child operates on their own timeline. Some are early, others aren’t. But we all figure out how to walk at some point, right?” This brought me some comfort, as I have great faith in my mom’s wise words. She has raised three children who are all walkers. So, I let the worry wash over me, and…lo and behold…K eventually walked. I feel like being a first time mom can make you a little nutty. You often feel like you’re sinking a lot more than you’re swimming. It’s good to seek advice from veteran moms and moms with multiple children. They will talk you off the ledge.
But still, my competitive spirit can get the best of me. It is difficult not to jump on what I’ll call the “Mommy Comparison Train.” I have been living my life rather quietly lately. Humming along and trying not to Google too much. Because if you Google “Should my child talk at 22 months?” You may just be met with “My child wrote poetry at 22 months” and then end up wanting to kill yourself. I feel like “Try not to Google Too Much” should be the name of my memoir. Anyway. I was back on the train over the weekend after an adorable little girl not quite one month older than K came up to me talking in full sentences with the vocabulary of a fifth grader.
You see K still doesn’t talk much compared to her peers. She understands a ton. But, she’s not chattering like the little girl I saw over the weekend. I know children develop at their own rates, and it wouldn’t make much sense to push K too hard. Her doctor believes that K is perfectly healthy and normal. No reason to be too nervous over her speech or language development. She isn’t at the point of needing speech therapy. (She will be evaluated again at her two year appointment.) Yet, still, I have these thoughts. Am I not talking to her enough? Am I talking to her too much? Is it because I know what she wants before she says it? OK, so I’m not telling her to ‘use her words’ enough. So much internal dialogue. The insecurities start to creep up and take over.
So, here I sit, practicing patience, hoping for the day the light switch goes off in K’s brain, and it all comes together as it should. Worrying that the switch is broken. Worrying if I am doing all I can do. Terrified that I could mess it all up, and above all, trying not to compare K to every potential 22 month old I meet, see on TV, see on Instagram, and notice on the street.