Friday, November 20, 2009

My New Mantra

I said in my last post that one of my irrational fears was Olive missing developmental goals. Really, Leanne and I have done a pretty good job of cutting that one of at the pass when we feel it coming on. It is a little mantra that I have started to repeat to myself and have shared with other parents.

Anytime we think Olive is having trouble doing something or we start getting worried that she isn’t doing something when she should, we just tell ourselves, that “Well, she isn’t going to be an 18-year-old that – fill in the blank”.

For example, Olive shows absolutely no desire to crawl right now and every once and a while we start wondering if this is going to slow down her being able to walk, ask ourselves if we should put her on her tummy more, and in general, we start worrying about inconsequential stuff since Olive has been developing her gross motor skills just fine. So we say, “It’s okay. Olive won’t be an 18-year-old that just sits motionless on the floor.” It works! You immediately feel better. We have used it for everything. When it seemed like Olive was teething for weeks without any sign of a tooth we would say “Well, she isn’t going to be a toothless 18-year-old.”

You can also use it to help prepare you for some bad times too. A friend of mine would probably, referring to one of my other irrational fears, recommend that I tell myself that Olive will not be an 18-year-old who has never had diarrhea. When we heard that she made another kid cry at day care by taking his toy I said to myself, well, she wasn’t going to be an 18-year-old that never made another kid angry.

As parents, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to do the perfect job and raise the perfect child who develops right along with the books and the charts. Reality doesn’t play itself out like that. We, as first time parents, are a portrait of naiveté. We think we know everything but we know very little. And our kids know even less, the certainly don't know what timeline they are supposed ot be following. They just do what they want, what feels good, and what comes naturally along the line. A lot of times, we are just a long for the ride. Somehow, everyone comes out okay.

Olive rolled over really quickly. But now she hates being on her tummy. Some kids will sleep through the night before others. Some will tolerate food better. Some will potty train and walk and talk later or earlier than others. But so far we have a healthy happy child, and there is no reason to believe that these things won’t come in time with good parenting. Mistakes allowed.

After all, Olive probably won’t be a toothless, non-vocal, bald, 18-year-old who can’t walk and poops her pants.

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