Monday, December 11, 2006

Mom Always Liked You Best

My youngest son, Andrew is closing in on his 1st birthday in early January. Outside of it being a momentous event, full of a mouthful of cake, a mountain of gifts, and cameras flashing from the family paparazzi, I find myself already comparing him to his older brother. Most notably in mobility milestones, such as walking, crawling and rolling over. When he was five months old, he rolled from his tummy to his back. We all cheered, and I even have it on video. This remained his one and only trick for quite some time, until he learned how to sit up on his own at about 7 months. Then he learned how to eat a Cheerio on his own. Then he learned how to clap. And now we’re all waiting for him to crawl. And still waiting, and waiting…. I say I’m worried because I can’t help but stare at a picture of my older son, CJ when he was 9 months old: he is standing. He was most definitely crawling by that time, and it was with great celebration when he took his first steps at his 1st birthday party. We were all amazed and we were all proud. So now that Andrew is nearing that one year milestone, I can’t help but be a little inquisitive about his development. He’s starting to reach out of his radius, moving all the more closer on bended knee, and each day I think he’s going to jump closer to mobility on all fours, when all of the sudden his attempt gets foiled by landing on his tummy in defeat. And then he rolls over on his back and starts squirming like a turtle on his shell. My poor little pumpkin.

I am doing my best at not comparing my two sons. I know I am starting a long road of therapy by instigating this practice, but it is very hard for me to ignore. As mothers it is instinctual for us to worry about our children, and I think it is second nature to say that one child did something later or earlier than the other, especially when they are of the same gender. But will it stop? Will I let them be separate individuals, and separate of my own expectations? Medically speaking, there is no physical reason for his immobility. Although, our doctor has advised at his last check up that if he is not crawling by one year he will be concerned. I feel like I’m tricking my motherly instincts into thinking this is OK, this is normal, and that other babies are not crawling yet. I’ve been telling myself not to over-analyze, don’t get competitive with the mothers on and off-line over who’s kid does what first. I’m really tying hard. But the sore fact that I share DNA with my own aggressive, perfectionist, obsessive compulsive mother, hinders my ability to take a laid back approach. You know the mom, the one that says: “Great attempt at making your bed, honey, but here’s how it’s really done.”

Not only am I a perfectionist, but I am also obsessive compulsive. A few weeks ago my older son went into a tantrum because the way he painted was not “perfect”. I couldn’t help but look at myself in the mirror and say, “Well, you’ve done it, Kate. You have become your mother.” So all this business about Andrew not crawling, it’s deep-seeded. These are generations of child-rearing coming out in all of us. It goes beyond me pinning my sons against each other. This is beyond the surface. It requires a moment for me to think about everything that I say to avoid the knee jerk response that so many before me have done. And that is tiring on some days. But it’s my attempt at breaking the cycle. But more importantly, am I able?

9 Comments:

Blogger soccer mom in denial said...

Hang in there. The little guy will "get it" in his own time. I think he's actually pretty smart. He gets to be carried by you that much longer.

And kudos for not comparing too much. Siblings need support in caring for each other, not trying to one-up.

1:07 PM

 
Blogger Christina said...

Cordy was late with everything. She didn't sit up until 7 months, crawl until 9 and a half months, and she didn't walk until 15 months. I'm sure he's close to crawling.

I always compared Cordy's development to that of my friends' kids. It took awhile to just chill and remember that she is her own person and may have different priorities. For her, physical developments just weren't as important. Maybe Andrew is that way as well.

4:09 PM

 
Blogger Laura said...

Love the Smothers brothers pic. I was raised on them... too funny!

I feel your pain about the comparing. Yep -- twins are fun too. Stella does EVERYTHING way before Grant does. People and relatives say all sorts of weird sometimes rude things... and I have to say that it really does affect me at times.

I try to tell myself that they are 2 different people...blah blah...

By the way... Grant wasn't walking until he was like 16 months...he just didn't care til then.

9:59 PM

 
Anonymous mayberry said...

I think it's really hard not to compare kids, especially same-sex siblings. But being aware that you are doing it, and then trying not to, has to count for a lot!

Also, not to go all anecdotal, but my good friend's son didn't crawl, and he had some early intervention, and then he crawled and walked and he's totally fine. Some babies NEVER crawl, just go straight to walking.

9:59 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hang in there little guy! I spent my young life being compared to a older brother and sister, and was able to get out of their shadow eventually.

Kids Tool Belt Diva

10:59 AM

 
Anonymous Suzanne said...

Just remember that we are all different and we all do things at different times, everything will be ok :)
New theme posted for Fair Recipe Trade :)

11:08 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I used to stress about comparing my sons until a friend of mine who's a psychology professor told me that comparing is natural and can, I stress "can" and not "always", be important because if there is a problem like a developmental one you can try and work on it. It's what you do after you compare that can cause problems (ie not recognizing each child for who they are, unrealistic expectations, etc.) My older son was on the border line for what was normally for all of the gross motor skills. He didn't crawl until 11 months and he didn't walk until days before turning 17 months. At my request he was enrolled in Early Intervention. When he was discharged from the program he was ahead of where he should be with his gross motor skills.

12:29 AM

 
Anonymous Binkytown said...

I only have one so I have no good advice to offer other than I think this is totally natural and I bet all mothers do it (even if they say they don't)

5:03 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you are my long lost sister.

Well, at least we share some genetic material when it comes to the obsessive/compulsive perfectionistic way of living.

I have sister in laws with "perfect" children, to whom I constantly compare my offspring. It is exhausting.

I am also starting to worry about the milestone markers between my girls. Aveline was early/on time with most of them, and I try to keep that in mind. She rolled over tummy to back a few days shy of 3 months. Scarlett just past the three month mark Saturday and I am beginning to panic because she shows no signs of rolling. Crazy, huh?

I think, like a pp said, it is natural and okay to compare your kids, to a point. I constantly try to remind myself that each child is an individual and I will encourage her to do her best in her own way.

8:41 PM

 

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