Three years ago Michele Henry took you through her most challenging assignment to date: pregnancy. Tag along again as this new mom of two navigates a second maternity leave, juggling endless diaper changes and sleepless night with her efforts to lose the baby weight — again — and hang onto her sanity.
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Sophie the Giraffe was half falling out of The Bucket and the diaper bag was creeping off my shoulder and inching toward my elbow when I scurried into the auditorium where the mom and baby aerobics class was already in session.
I set to work quickly, preparing Huds for some tummy time with toys so I could get my jump on. That's when I felt a small pair of hands on my shoulder and breath on my neck.
A cute little boy named Camden was using me as a post. As soon as he stood up, he sat back down, giggled and crawled away. Rather, he speed-crawled away with the sprite and nimbleness of an olympic gymnast.
"Sorry," his mom said, rushing over.
"No worries," I said, initiating the polite conversation all new mom's partake in during classes.
"He's very cute. How old is he?"
I fully expected her to tell me that Camden was nine or 10 months old.
"He's seven months," Camden's mom said.
S-e-v-e-n-m-o-n-t-h-s.... SEVEN?! Only seven? I sputtered. "Wow. Seven months?! Seven months and he crawls like that. Wow."
Obviously, Hudson is a brilliant genius who, like 99 per cent of the kids I know and care about, is undeniably ahead of the curve, exceptionally bright and developmentally advanced (he is also practically perfect in every way).
But, uhm, it certainly doesn't look like my almost-six-month-old son will be ready for Vancouver 2010 by next month.
"So, was he crawling like that at 6 months?" I asked with caution in my voice, praying Camden's mom would say something like, 'oh, no, don't be silly. He was doing exactly what your son is doing at exactly the same age!'
But she didn't.
"Well," she said. "He was crawling at five months and trying to stand by six."
Well, you AND your son SUCK! ..... okay, I didn't actually say that. Or mean it. But after that conversation my whole body tingled with a mix of jealousy and shame.
Seeing someone else's child whose abilities clearly exceed that of my own son - for the time being - was tough to take. I want to believe that my kid is the sweetest, smartest and the most agile.
I love Hudson with greater depth every day and more affection than I ever thought I could muster.. How dare I want him to be different? How could I even think of comparing him to someone else?
Even discussing stuff like this - or making developmental comparisons - is a major no-no in the mom world, a topic of conversation covered in the unwritten, seldom discussed rules of mom-friending. Bragging about one's child is strictly off limits (for the record, Camden's mom was not violating the code, I was. I asked).
But it can be the toy elephant in many playrooms.
Sure I steal glances of other kids to see if they're "ahead" or "behind" Huds. I'm not proud of this, but I certainly do compare my son to others to see if he's progressing normally or fast enough. I do it even though I know damn well that each kid is an individual who will develop on his or her own schedule.
At his or her own rate.
And how advanced children are at six months of age certainly does not predict what kind of person they will eventually become.
Still, I came home that night and whined to Ted.
"But why isn't Hudson the fastest?!" I said, in a very unattractive nasal-y voice. "You're smart, I'm not too much of an idiot, shouldn't our kid be a pole vaulting math-lete already?? Shouldn't he be mentally rotating objects, cracking quadratic equations and balancing basket balls on his pinky???"
Ted stared at me. He did not turn green. Not a flash or jealousy wrinkled his eyes.
"I'm proud of my son," he said. "What do I care what anyone else's kid does?"
Ya know, Ted's right (for once!).
Posted by Michele Henry at 07:54:41 PM
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