Monday, November 7, 2011

Keeping up with the milestones

Does your baby roll over yet? Sleep through the night? Eat solids? How much does your kid weigh? How much tummy time do you give your baby?

I have been thinking a lot about weight gain and milestones lately. Mainly because just about every pediatric doctor, specialist, and physical therapist that I have encountered has made a point of me thinking about it. And, to be totally honest, because a few friends of mine have given birth to healthy babies, full term ones, around the same time that Ethan and Aria were born. And so I’ve been stressing about catching up my kids to the other full-term babies. On top of that, the doctors give me homework to do with my almost six month old kids and instructions and follow-up appointments. And not to divulge too much, but we see quite a number of doctors and physical therapists as a result of Ethan’s pre-maturity and being born very small.

So now I’m constantly tracking their corrected age in relation to their developmental stages, and then calculating it in relation to their chronological age. And plotting their weights on growth charts. And waiting for a doctor not to say, “We need to catch him up.” But rather, “He’s exactly where he should be.” Let alone, "Wow, your child is a genius. You better start saving for Harvard now!"

I do not take E’s and A’s development lightly. At all. I appreciate modern medicine – A LOT. And I appreciate the experience that our children’s healthcare team bring to the table. But won’t my children learn to sit even if I don’t buy some special sitter? Does it really matter if they roll over at seven months instead of at six months?

We’re in this constant state of playing catch up that I eagerly want to resolve itself. I'm sick of the doctors, as helpful and supportive as they are. I'm sick of the pressure, the worry, the stress. I'm sick of fretting before each appointment over what they will say and have me do this time.

I'd much rather prefer allowing the journey to unfold naturally, going with the flow, but it’s really hard to do when you have a slew of people checking in with you on your child’s development a few times a week.

Here's the lesson I'm grappling with: I am learning to accept the journey - all of it.

Acceptance doesn't mean resigning yourself to your life situation, according to author of Power of Now Eckhart Tolle. You obviously need to do something about it when faced with challenging situations. Acceptance means facing whatever is happening to you - internally and externally. This can apply to any of life's situations - career, relationships, health/diabetes.

And in my case these days, it's about allowing my children to develop at their own pace. When they’re ready to move to the next step (which happens so fast anyway). And I suppose the doctors are a part of that journey too. As are the moms of full-term babies. The appointments, the homework, the activities, and the letting them be who they are.

There's a lesson in all of it. On living life to the fullest. On not resisting what life hands you and your loved ones. On facing what happens to you, accepting it, and doing something about it.

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