Monday, 27 February 2012

Apples and oranges

If there is one thing that frustrates me more than anything else, it's people who compare their babies with other peoples babies. (That and trying to scrape mashed banana out of the carpet.) I saw it heaps before I had Miss K, but it seems to be magnified by the fact that when I see it these days, it's usually my daughter that the children are being compared against.

I say this to my family and friends all the time, but it still stands true. No two babies are exactly the same. A perfect example is Miss K with her teething. While both her father and I were cutting teeth at 6 months as is expected, she waited until she was 9 months old to cut her first tooth, and is averaging one tooth per month. This is slower than what is considered normal, but doesn't make her abnormal. I have been reassured time and again that it can be normal for a baby to not start cutting teeth until 10 months. There are a few areas in which Miss K does not fit into the normal category. Her speech is not where it is for most other babies, but she is able to jump, which is something I've not seen in other babies her age before. I'm not trying to say that my daughter is better than other babies because she is jumping when others can't, but that seems to be the impression that I get from every person who tries to compare their baby with mine.

It is hard to tell if Miss K would still be where she is now if she wasn't so sick when she was born and for the first 5 weeks of her life. No one is able to tell me for certain what kind of damage could have been done. We go for tests every couple of months, and she has been given a clean bill of health so far. Most recently we had her hearing and her eye sight tested, and both of them are perfectly normal. She is slightly short sighted, but that is normal in children of her age. She has also inherited her mother's lazy eye, but she seems to be correcting that one on herself. I have a sinking feeling that we'll discover in several years that Miss K has some kind of impairment that wouldn't show up this early, partly because of the difficulties that her father has with reading and comprehension. The thing is because Ady's mother refuses to accept that these difficulties indicate that something was wrong with Ady, she never had anything done about it. It also means we don't know what is wrong with Ady so I don't know what to prepare myself for. Of course this doesn't change the way I feel about Miss K, if anything it just strengthens my determination to protect her and make sure she has a good life.

I love my daughter no matter how slow she is growing her teeth, or how often she insists on jumping on my lap, and that is really the only thing that matters to me and her. I know that she will start talking when she is ready, just like she has done everything else. It is nice to have reassurance that Miss K is healthy, and in a lot of ways she is very normal, but apart from making sure everything is OK, I really don't need to know how other babies have done what Miss K is doing. The only thing that matters to me is how my baby is doing.

But for now any time anyone tells me that their child is doing things faster than Miss K I will just smile politely, grit my teeth and repeat my mantra. No two children are the same.
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