When my first was little, I was obsessed about his milestones. As a new mom I was bombarded with app reminders of the things he should be doing, the things I should be doing to get him there, and signs to look for and bring up to his pediatrician. It was a lot.
There was a reason for my fixation. Our first couple of weeks in this world together were not easy. He had weight gain issues and I was of course a totally inexperienced mom trying to breastfeed and get at least a couple of hours of sleep a day. Bonding did not come naturally and obsessing over his weight was the only way I found to control things. Once we had gotten over the feeding hurdle and he was gaining ounces adequately, I found other things to obsess about… milestones.
It was easy to get overwhelmed. Was I doing enough tummy time? Was he getting enough stimulation from black and white cards for his eyes to develop? Was I doing everything I possibly could to help him be the best at absolutely everything? And then on top of that, I couldn’t help but compare him to other babies his age. Why were other babies sitting up before him? Why was he not walking at exactly 12 months of age? Was that his first word or just a babble?
The twins came to teach me a lesson I really needed in my life. All children are different.
My husband who has a very chill approach to everything in life kept telling me to relax, that our child was going to get to things when he was ready to. But I couldn’t, I needed to be in control after our rocky start, so every time I felt another baby was “ahead” (whatever that meant) I would spiral into Google searches trying to find something wrong with him. I never did, because there never was. And I know that is not the story for everyone, but it was for us, in my case I was just expecting my son to fit a textbook description when really, children achieve these milestones at their own pace.
Fast forward to a couple years later when I was pregnant with twins, every single twin parent warned me that twins were on their own schedule, to not even think about comparing them to singletons because it would just leave me frustrated. The twins came to teach me a lesson I really needed in my life. All children are different.
I tried my hardest not to compare them to other babies, even during a global pandemic and when not seeing other babies their age, I compared them to my first at the same age. “He was rolling over by now” I would tell my husband, as he very patiently reminded me that I had done this with him before, and that it was pointless. Slowly, as they developed more and showed their very different personalities and interests (despite being genetically identical, which is a total mind trip in itself), I started comparing them to each other. One was always, and I mean always, two weeks behind her sister. When one sat up, I waited two weeks and the other was sitting up. When one would crawl, like clockwork, two weeks later the other one would be crawling.
Having twins made me realize that comparing children and their milestones steals the joy of parenting. They are, after all, all different and with very varied strengths.
Some babies are more verbal, others more physical. Some explode with words all of a sudden, others go one by one. Some babies take shaky steps at first, others straight up run. Some climb, others are just chill. Expecting them all to do the same thing at the same time is just unrealistic. Think about us adults, we don’t all like or do the same things, so why would we expect it with infants or toddlers?
Having twins made me realize that comparing children and their milestones steals the joy of parenting.
I’ve given up on comparing my children and their milestones, between themselves and with other kids their age. Now if I’m ever worried about them, I first do a gut check with my husband and then if it’s really keeping me up at night, I got our beloved pediatrician who has (obviously) spent years studying children and knows waaaaaaay more than I do and also knows my children way better than any app out there.
So trust me on this one, don’t compare your kid to other kids based on milestones, and instead just enjoy their own quirky timeline they might be on, because time just flies by too fast not to enjoy it.