Let babies be babies 

Let babies be babies 

Why do we have this urge to check, cross-check and double check our baby's developmental milestones with that of someone else's? Celebrate their individuality... they are just little humans after all

baby's developmental milestones

Poor babies! They are under performance pressure right from the womb

So, is Re talking?

Well, he says mamaaa and dadaaa and a few other words, but I wouldn’t say he is talking really…

You know P is so cute, she is talking nineteen to the dozen. She is learning ten new words each day!

Really? Good for her..

Now if I was one of those vulnerable, insecure moms, I would quickly compute P’s age and get all antsy that Re is lagging behind and wonder if he has a speech impediment, and look up blogs like this one and others for advice and join more mommy forums and worry till kingdom come. But I am not, so I don’t do any of that and write this post instead.

I find it a bit vulgar to talk about my child— what he does, what milestone he is at, what he said today—unless specifically asked. I never go into details about his growth or development and it takes a lot of probing to get information from me. I reckon talking about one’s child is equivalent to talking about one’s boyfriend or husband, and I have spent enough time as a singleton to disown people who do that, so why should it be any different now? Even my mother, who calls me every single day complains that I never tell her enough about his ‘progress’. That she has to pry and pry till she can get some meat out of me.

For most mothers, motherhood might be some kind of pinnacle; the child becomes the centre of your universe and sometimes you don’t even realise you are talking about your child all the time. I love being a mom and I love my child, but I still get irritated when every conversation is about him. Most fellow mums want to know what your child is up to so that they can quickly feel one-up if theirs is on a higher milestone.

But seriously, it is as boring to hear people talking about their children as it is to hear them talking about themselves. I don’t know whether that makes me less of a mother, but I find it really boring. So why should I impose that on anyone else? So you will not be hearing about Re’s nursery rhyme mastery or his first legitimate sentence or the first word he wrote unless there is a larger point to make.

And there is no end to comparing baby notes, if that is the agenda when mothers discuss their babies. When your baby is barely turning, someone else’s has flipped over. When yours has flipped over, someone else’s has sat up. When yours has sat up, someone else’s is crawling. Hell, it never ends. I still remember when I got my big ticket job in a newspaper, all my mother could think of is when will I appear on television!

Poor babies! They are under performance pressure right from the womb. Is it kicking? Is it moving enough? Has it engaged? And once born, it’s all about: Is he latching on? Is he sleeping? Is he staying swaddled? Is he responding to his name?

And then it goes on to: Is he eating? Teething? Crawling? Walking? Talking? Writing?

The thing is, babies will do whatever they have to do whenever they are ready for it. So if yours hasn’t started solids till nine months while another’s did at six, big deal! Or if yours started talking at two years while another’s started at 11 months, so what?

I don’t give a baby’s bottom (my new coinage for rat’s ass) but Re can do whatever he does whenever he wishes to do it. I am in no rush. And every time someone gets a ‘learning toy’, I can feel a capillary burst in my head. I don’t care if your baby can recognise all the birds and animals in the book. I don’t know who the hell Barney is and why are his DVDs so significant to my child’s growth? There’s no way a child can get away from learning his alphabet, his numbers or his tables, his colours, birds or animals, but my point is, what’s the hurry? The best thing about babies is that they are babies, so why do we want them to grow up so soon?

But it never ends, does it? I recall having the following conversation with one of my fraternity mums when Re was a year and a half:

Is he going to playschool?

No, he plays at home

How old is he? Isn’t he 18 months?

Yes, but..what’s the hurry?

Mine is so bored at home, he needs constant stimulation. So I send him to art class, dance class, song class, play school…blah blah blah

Really? So when does he get the time to be a baby?

What do you think about all the fuss around a baby’s developmental milestones? Please share in the Comment box below.

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Written by

Lalita Iyer

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