Judgement days

Since becoming a parent, the thing that annoys and frustrates me the most is judgement from other parents. You know the kind. You make an innocent enough comment about something your child, or you as a parent, is doing/not doing and then comes the onslaught. It can be as little as a face of shock, pity or ‘concern’ or as large as the full-tilt monologue usually starting with ‘what we found/did’ usually ending with the sentiment that their child is a genius and they are a perfect parent.

I wish I was exaggerating. But sadly I’ve come across it a fair few times, despite actively avoiding the type of conversations where this type of caper goes on.

Lately, it’s centred upon Jarvis’s walking – or more accurately, his lack of walking. It’s become more of a topic of conversation now he’s hit the ‘magic’ age of 12 months, and though the enquiries are starting to wear a bit thin most people’s comments don’t really offend me and are merely conversational.

However, there is a small segment of people that seem to think it’s a huge concern and take every opportunity to go on and on about it. Questioning what I do with him to ‘support walking’ while relaying tales of how their child was up an walking by 10 months with a self-congratulatory tone, like their skills as a parent had anything to do with it.

My new response to this is to smile and nod, while picturing stapling things to their heads.

Most days I’m not concerned about his lack of walking. He only started commando-crawling at 10 1/2 months and is only now (as of yesterday) starting to crawl on his knees with his bum up. I know that he’ll get there.

So probably what annoys me most is that these comments of concern plant a seed of worry in my head that doesn’t need to be there, that I then have to actively dig out by reminding myself that he is fine, he will walk. They rub on that little scar inside of me, that is slowly healing. Where I stow away my worry and concern about my boy and what he was born with. That thing I can’t change.

When they question his ‘weakness’ with walking, and use that word, it takes on a whole other meaning for me. It’s a reminder of his other ‘weakness’ and it feels like a thumb on a bruise in my chest. But they will never know this, so caught up with facilitating every milestone and deciding it’s a parents fault that their child isn’t meeting a guideline. Until of course, their ‘perfect child’ experiences any sort of delay themselves.

But with a weakness comes strength. Knowing that the right side of boy’s face will never move as his left has freed me of worrying endlessly about other milestones. His uniqueness saves me from playing the comparison game. I relish every moment and every giggle as he pulls himself around the floor commando style and forget about all the ‘shoulds’. Seems there is already enough people worrying about that for me.

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20 thoughts on “Judgement days

  1. Everyone has an opinion. Mine walked at almost 16 months and a bit over 14 months respectively. I was incredibly sick of the ‘aren’t they walking YET’ comments.

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  2. So very true!
    Some kids are earlier walkers/crawlers/talkers whatever, some are spot on average and some are later – they all get there in the end. Why can’t we just enjoy them while they are making discoveries at their own pace?
    Good on you for, excuse the pun, standing up for yourself.

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  3. I love that last paragraph. He is a beautiful boy. Heidi isn’t walking yet either. Those people are so annoying and I wonder if they realise that they are lacking basic social skills let alone how they’re coming across as a fellow parent. I’ve had a few similar conversations mainly in regards to eating solids and day sleeping (both of which Heidi doesn’t do much of). At least we’re not having to run around after them as much yet!

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  4. Beautiful post, hun. And so true- every time someone someone questions, or comments, it digs, doesn’t it?

    Can I feature this post on Aussie Mummy Bloggers in the next couple of weeks? It’s one that needs to be read xoxox

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  5. You have a great attitude! What’s it to them anyway? We are all different and your little bloke will get there in the end. Life is a marathon and not a sprint. What’s the hurry?

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  6. I find that when people are like that they are either a) genuinely worried (like grandparents) or b) feeling sensitive themselves. This parenting gig makes it easy to judge ourselves and even seeing someone else’s baby doing something ours doesn’t makes us want to reassure ourselves by looking at what they can’t do. My second was a horrible, horrible sleeper and it made me very aware never to say anything to others that they would take as a criticism, because I was so busy taking everything as a judgement! When people did it I would amuse myself working out what it was they were feeling inferior about.

    It sounds like you have everything sorted, we all have those moments. BTW, mine were both early walkers and it was a complete pain, I think you’re very lucky if he isn’t walking yet!

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    • Having a few difficulties along the way certainly does make you more sensitive to the feelings of others that’s for sure. I also agree about the inferiority complex theory – I do that too! It can be an amusing exercise. And lets face it, sometimes you really have to laugh or you’d cry!

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  7. I really feel for you, it is SO frustrating that even though you may be perfectly fine with your child walking ‘when they’re ready’, there are do-gooders and busy-bodies who just cannot help themselves. It was what actually finally led me to leaving my mothers group. They were unusually early movers, and my daughter didn’t crawl until she was 15mths and didn’t walk until she was 23mths. Think there weren’t pitying looks and comments to go with them?! (Along the lines of me being in denial that something was wrong) It’s just unbelievable what people think is within their rights to comment on (and how).

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  8. Enjoy the non walking time, once they are up it they never sit still again.

    I find my mum and MIL were the worst exaggerators ever. Currently mil tells me all about how her first was reading the Age as a three year old, he aint no genius now, so I doubt it.

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  9. I had a friend around for coffee a few weeks ago, who made a point of my two year old using a high chair and still sleeping in her cot. Why on earth that matters is beyond me. They’re both still convenient, so why would we change that?

    I think people who compare child development are just trying to make up for their own insecurities. I’m glad you aren’t worry about all the ‘shoulds’.

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  10. I REALLY hate the comparison/my-kids-so-much-more-advanced-than-your-kid game. My 2.5 year-old (who didn’t walk til about 15 months) is not yet talking in sentences, nor is he showing any interest in toilet training. This doesn’t bother me one bit… I also have a 6 month old and (aside from not having the time or energy to get worked up by some “observant/helpful” mummies) he is growing so fast that I think, why oh why are we in such a rush for our bubs to grow up!?!? Before we know it they’ll be off to school – where they will all be walking, talking, toilet-trained etc – and then in another blink of the eye they’ll be grabbing the keys and we won’t see them for an entire weekend. So, as far as I’m concerned, my little ones can take their time with growing up, while I try to soak up as much of these short babies years as I can. 🙂

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  11. Mine were all so different. One early, one late, one apparently on time. My MIL was a bandit for pointing out my fails when bringing up my children. I still don’t think she believes Aspergers is real and I’m just a shit parent. Not her son, mind you, just her daughter in law. I stopped caring a while ago, but until that happens, it all hurts.

    Everyone does the best they can and often, people need to butt out. x

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  12. I hear you! Erin didn’t walk until she was 18 months old, she didn’t crawl “properly” until she started pulling up. She didn’t smile until she was over 8 months old, nor did she make any noise other than crying until after that either. My personal favorite was, when I’d express concern about her not talking I’d get “mine was speaking full and proper sentences by the time she was 4 months old…but I talked to her a lot” (okay so I exaggerate, the baby might have been 6 months old), what exactly was I supposed to think about that question?

    Erin was born early and tiny, because of that she’s still very tiny so I get stunned looks when people hear her speak now because they’d taken her for a much younger child. I’m seriously considering saying that she really is only 1, she’s just very advanced.

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  13. I also know what its like to have the judgement passed about my son not walking. He is 14 months now and he only started crawling properly when he was around 11-12 months.. My older son was 14 months when he walked and my daughter was 13 months.. I know that my son will get there when he’s ready, but gosh it does annoy when I get the whole “Oh, isn’t he walking yet???”.. Grrrr….!

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  14. Finding happiness all comes down to one thing, and that’s hsontey. Honesty with yourself first and foremost about who you are in the truest sense, and what your needs are as opposed to your wants.I meet all kinds of people from all kinds of backgrounds, and I do this all day, every day. Many of these people I get to know as people, and it never ceases to amaze me how many of them have sold out. Sold their souls in the name of money, & perception. I call it that I’m kind of a big deal syndrome. They work jobs they hate, to buy shit they don’t need, and marry people they don’t like, and have kids they don’t want in an effort to keep up with the Jones. They fall in love with these conceptions of what the perfect little life is, and how they’re viewed by others, but when it comes down to brass tacks, their lives are as big a mess as anyones.I know it sounds a little tree huggerish , but I don’t think it’s possible to ever really be happy, until people know themselves, and what it is that makes their engine run smooth. That’s what life is, it’s about finding purpose, and reason to be here .it’s purely functional. Once we find our function, and are honest about what we need in life as opposed to what we want, I honestly believe that happiness is inevitable

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