Seventeen weeks today.
Seventeen whole weeks since this little madam arrived.
Seventeen whole weeks of love.
I wonder what it is about development milestones and our continual obsession with them?
It’s hardly as if there’s a button to be pressed at 16 weeks, that suddenly makes your baby roll over. Or at 24weeks, another button that allows them to sit up. Yet, we all expect and look out for those milestones to be reached by a certain age, and if it doesn’t happen? Anxiety happens in its place.
I always thought I’d be one of those mums that wouldn’t really think of development targets, what was ‘normal’ and worry if my baby didn’t reach them by a certain age. Then again, this was also back in the days where I thought breastfeeding would be easy, that my baby would sleep when I wanted her to and i believed pigs flew…..
This week, I’ve spent an obscene amount of time thinking about what Olivia can and can’t do. She smiles (a lot of the time), she turns her head to where she hears my voice from, follows my face and is OBSESSED with toys. Especially light up toys. All in all, I’d say she was doing pretty well at 16 weeks, especially considering she’s technically only 11 weeks corrected.
So WHY was i so focused on the one thing that she wasn’t doing?!
I think in the past week, I’ve asked everyone, short of the bloody postman;
‘How old was your baby when they started grabbing toys?’
‘Do you reckon my baby should be reaching out for toys by 16 weeks?’
‘What if there’s some kind of development problem with her?’
She grabs onto her muslins, will grab her dummy in her mouth and pull it out (LOVES doing this at 5am) and loves to hold onto her bottle when I’m feeding her. I know she can do it and I’m fully aware that she’ll start having more interest in toys soon, so why am I letting it bother me so much?!
In a way, I’m pretty pleased that i am focusing on it – I think it means I’m getting slightly better at this whole mum thing.
Instead of spending my day focusing on keeping this tiny baby alive, I’m now managing to spend time playing with, and enjoying her, which is amazing. Inevitably, it does lead to the worries.
What made things worse was that I encountered my first ‘Perfect baby’ person this week. I attend a couple of baby classes and at this particular one, I met a really friendly girl with a baby just a day older than Liv. At first, she seemed really interested in Liv and what she was getting up to etc. It soon became clear that she just wanted to use what I was saying as a target to ‘beat’….
Oh, Liv is smiling?
My baby is laughing.
Oh, Liv is following toys?
My baby is grabbing them?
Oh, Liv is teething?
My baby has a full set of gnashers.
Ok, the last one might not be true but I’d zoned out by this stage otherwise I might have cried. Or pulled her hair a bit. That’s brilliant that your baby seems to be super talented and a quick learner, but my baby seems to be teaching herself how to fit her whole fist in her mouth, can your genius baby do that?!
As everyone keeps reminding me – not all babies develop at the same rates. The fact that she is bright and alert and learning some skills are all positive signs. I’ve been reading up on the Wonder Weeks app (which has been a bit of a sanity saver!) and she’s just coming in to ‘leap 3’ now so we’ll see what comes along with this – and in the meantime, focus on all the amazing things she IS doing, while looking forward to all the things that are to come.
Anyway, I need to start worrying about more important things, like when I’m going to enjoy my next glass of wine….