Z had her 9 month check-up appointment the other day. Of course we were so happy to get the stamp of approval that she is growing, that she is happy and healthy. I know how lucky I am to have these things. But as I walked away from the appointment all I kept thinking was how I still feel so lost in the dark when it comes to bringing up my baby girl. Every day I think to myself, am I doing the best I can for her. Am I helping her thrive, am I helping her progress. After the initial check-up on all of her vitals the doctor goes through all these list of things your baby should or could be doing. Is she sitting up? Is she crawling? Is she clapping her hands? Is she eating solids? Does she have her teeth? Can she pull herself up? The list goes on and on. Seriously, the baby spectrum on all of these things is ridiculous, but you can't help but feel that if your baby isn't doing one, some or any of these things that you as a parent are failing them. Thanks to social media, it is so easy to get caught up in seeing what others little ones are doing. I'll see a baby crawling on all fours on Snapchat and think to myself, that baby is 5 weeks younger than Zoe and look what they can do. How sad that already Z is being subjected to comparisons and she is only 9 months old.
If you are reading this now and take anything away from it, I hope it is this: avoid the new mommy comparison game. Instead of looking around and seeing the things that your baby isn't doing yet, focus on what your baby is doing now! No matter how many times we may practice her high fives or practice her standing up, it all comes down to her own timing. Just sit back and watch in amazement as your baby figures out how to move their own body and watch their little minds work as they figure out what things are. It truly is one of the coolest things to witness. And trust me, I know it is hard not to compare. But it helps to focus on the special things that your baby is doing. Like when Zoe plays peek-a-boo. She'll bring an object up to her forehead so her eyes are completely showing. You ask her where she is and she gets all giggly, and then she drops the object down and she gets so excited! It makes my little mommy heart melt each time.
Of course, it's also our responsibility as parents to watch out for development problems or delays. At the end of Zoe's appointment I made sure to ask the doctor what things she would be concerned about if Zoe wasn't doing by her 1 year check up (seriously, how is that already coming up?!). That way I knew what things I really needed to practice with her. But always remember, we can never force our babies to reach those milestones before they are ready. All we can do is encourage and be their biggest cheerleaders for any and all of those little moments they will have. So don't compare, your baby is perfect and you are doing enough.
*Since writing this post Zoe has started saying "mama", amped up her crawling skills from army crawling to full blown crawling (although she looks like a drunken crab... and she still prefers army crawling over anything else), and pulling herself up to standing in her crib. Just goes to show how much babies can change in the matter of days.*