Today the Beats are 11 months old (9 months age adjusted). If you read about gross and fine motor skills that are expected in this age group, you'll find that crawling and standing supported are commonly cited, with some cases you'll hear about babies taking their first steps. Eating solids is also talked about, particularly the development of the pincher-grasp, which allows them to pick up smaller objects like peas and cereal. The list goes on and I don't care to go through each of the details, but the point is that this period is ripe for anxiety for any parent as there is this constant pressure to compare where your child(ren) are at compared to every other kid. And when one hits bumps along the way, whether they be big or small, it's enough to cause one to feel very isolated.
Since the day the Beats were born, I've worried about their development. Starting with the fact that they were born before they had developed the ability to suck and swallow, a lot of time was spent in NICU helping them grow and training them to feed from a bottle. I remember very clearly how He-Beat took to the bottle, sucking greedily to take milk. Problem was, he would fail to pause and breathe, so feeding him required making him stop so he could breathe as otherwise his heart rate would drop. In the meantime, She-Beat was taking her time. Far less interested in eating, she would instead spend her time cuddling and wanting her feeds via the NG tube. As He-Beat plowed forward, we were warned there was a very good chance he would go home before her, leaving her alone in the NICU while we adjusted to him being home.
I remember crying from this news. Fearing that leaving my baby girl alone in NICU would cause her to deteriorate. We didn't have help, so while other families have relied on relatives to help split time, we instead were looking at having her go days without anyone there. There was so much fear and anxiety surrounding her not eating and I remember praying while I would hold her, hoping for a miracle so I could bring both babies home.
Four days before they came home, She-Beat decided she was ready to eat from a bottle. And unlike her brother, she was awesome at pacing. So good, actually, that she actually was discharged from the hospital one whole day before her brother. And with that, she set the stage for how she would reach her milestones: in her time and doing them as close to perfection as possible.
Knowing this history should have impressed on me that I need to stop worrying about how the Beats are developing, particularly when He-Beat is charging forward. The trouble is, I constantly have the teachers at daycare watching and giving feedback on what skills need to be accomplished for them to transition to the next stage when they reach 12 months of age (age adjusted). With He-Beat, there is zero worry. This kid is currently standing unsupported and is cruising around the daycare through a series of scoots, pulling and rolling (rolling when he wants to get somewhere fast). With each accomplishment, he smiles the biggest smile as he is so proud of what he's doing. And he has She-Beat cheering him on, clapping and giggling as he makes it over to the toy bins to turn them over.
She-Beat, on the other hand, is currently showing zero interest in crawling or standing. She hates being on her tummy with a passion and will quickly roll off of it when placed on or will meltdown. Though she loves being in the jump chair, she really has no desire to put weight on her feet. Initially the teachers were concerned that this was reflective of an issue with gross motor skills, but considering they both decided to sit unsupported prior to rolling over, that whole theory has gone out the window. Add in the fact that she is doing very well with other aspects of her development (she excels at fine motor as she is very interested in her hands), and it's a bit of a perplexing issue.
HRF's recent post about the difficulties she's facing with her son's eating really hit home. Particularly the point where she talked about how isolated she felt with all of this. A big part of me knows that babies develop at their own rates and that pushing various aspects is not only counter-productive but can also be down right detrimental. But the thing is I also want to make sure that if there is an issue we address it. That we help She-Beat meet these different milestones as not doing so will negatively impact her. The problem comes with distinguishing whether there is truly an issue. Some teachers are completely convinced its just a matter of her watching her brother and deciding that she wants to do what he's doing. She's a perfectionist, after all. Still there's also the warnings about not seeing things and how we may need to hold her back.
The long and the short of all of this is there's been stress. Stress that I feel ashamed to even talk about. On the one hand, I know how amazingly lucky I am to have these two and they are both so much more than I could ever imagine. I also worry that my anxiety will affect them, planting the seeds for low self-esteem and self-worth. I'm still suffering from those seeds that were planted when I was young and I truly don't want to pass these demons on.
So I'll pose the same question HRF did yesterday: Am I creating a monster over this issue? Or is this a real problem? Has anyone else dealt with something like this?