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Milestones: My baby must be better than yours.

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#1 Kylie Orr

Posted 29 January 2009 - 01:16 PM

This week’s word: confabulation; kun-fab-yuh-LAY-shun;   (noun)
Meaning: a filling in of gaps in memory by fabrication

As a first-time mum, I was preoccupied with my baby reaching all the “normal” milestones.  The obsession was fuelled by my maternal health nurse’s equal fixation.  Weight gain, grasping toys, rolling over, eating solids, night feeds, no night feeds, and the list had no end.

It is completely reasonable to follow the baby’s progress and be on the lookout for any warning signs of developmental delay or physical problems.    Turning it into some kind of parenting game of skill, which many seem to do, was where the milestone mayhem took a turn for the worse.

My son rolled at four months.  Phew! I thought.  One down; four million milestones to go.  People now ask if my third-born is rolling.  It’s not so much the question – just one of interest – but the way it is asked with an accusatory tone: shouldn’t he be rolling by now? My response?  Yes, when on his tummy, if he leans to the left, he falls onto his back.  That’s because his head is heavier than the rest of him and it tips him over. If you want to call that rolling, knock yourself out. So, a little sarcastic, but really, does it matter when he rolls?  What if he’s not rolling just yet?  Will he have less chance of being the next Prime Minister if he rolls at six months instead of four?  Am I a terrible parent if he rolls later?

My mum tells me I was a very placid baby.  Happy lying on the floor, babbling to myself for hours.  Not a lot has changed.  Someone came to visit her and noticed me at seven months of age, lying on the floor.  Can’t she sit up?  The visitor asked.   My mum said she hadn’t got around to trying, so she sat me up and Voila!  I could sit.  I had no previous interest in sitting.  And my mum had three children under three so was not preoccupied with milestones.  I was walking by 10 months.  And here I am, at 29 (again!), with a university degree.  Who woulda thunk a baby who couldn’t sit up at seven months, could piece together a word or two later in life….sitting up in a chair?

Our firstborn cut his first teeth around six months.  Excellent.  Right on track.  I was not yet clear that his reaching of milestones had nothing to do with me.  Those proud parents who boast their child got their first tooth at 4 months as if they willed it down from the gum - how amusing, now I reflect.  But at the time, I found it very annoying, not to mention patronising.  My parenting was not being tested here if his first tooth only showed up at 12 months.  It took me a while to realise this.  Slow learner.  Me.  Not Him.  He was, of course, advanced.

Then there was the old favourite, "sleeping through".  Every other parent I met seemed to have a baby sleeping through by eight weeks.  As you may have read in another blog of mine, we've had sleep-challenged children.  At eight weeks, my firstborn was almost hoarse from all the screaming he'd done.  No sign of sleeping, let alone sleeping through.  How were these people doing it?

Then my older, much wiser sister (also a mum), suggested I dig a little deeper and get people to define what “sleeping through” is for them.  Sure enough, a friend in my mum’s group said her baby had slept through from six weeks except for the midnight feed.  Aha! So, they’re actually not sleeping through at all, by my definition anyway.  In my world, if you put your baby down at bedtime, say 7pm, and they don’t wake til 6am, then that is a miraculous, much sought-after sleep-through.  I’ll take a midnight to 5am in lieu of a sleep through because five hours sleep kicks behind over an hourly waking schedule, but it isn’t a sleep-through, my friend.

Toilet training. Another gemstone milestone.  Perhaps this one has more input from the parent but ultimately it comes down to whether your child is ready, how stubborn they are, how reluctant they may be, or how excited they are about wearing undies and dropping logs in the toilet bowl.  I don’t think it’s a case for a parenting medal and a big fat pat on the back because your child was toilet trained before they could walk.  My firstborn picked up the wee concept in a day.  Poo?  Took four months.  Four long, treacherous months of poo in undies.  Nasty stuff and a stressful time.  I was frightened he would be pooping in his pants in high school at the rate he was going.  But by three, he was sorted.  And night trained as well.  He figured it out and his body was ready.  And maybe I told him a little story about a Poo Party…. But that’s another blog.

There’s nothing wrong with being excited about your baby reaching milestones early.  By all means, share your good fortune, but realise it is just that – fortune.  So far, we have been very fortunate with our children reaching all their milestones within the "normal" range.  Not to have to stress about your child being a little slower than others, or fretting over whether they will reach a stage at all, is a blessing.  Acting like you are the World’s Most Brilliant Parent because Walter found his Walking Feet at 11 months, puts you in a pretty unpopular category. And the older generation who have a tendency towards confabulation of stories about their children walking at eight months and holding down a paid job by two, well…

What do you think of milestones?  Do you obsess about your children reaching them?  Have you happened across anyone boasting about their child’s milestones?


#2 alreadyagran

Posted 30 January 2009 - 09:58 PM

I am replying as one of the "older generation".  I can honestly tell you I have no idea what age my children rolled over, crawled, teethed, walked etc.  Obviously they all did it within an acceptable time frame as none of them had to have any intervention.

I can remember my MCHN asking me had my son (number 3) rolled over, sorry can't remember what age he was, and I told her that he hadn't shown any signs of wanting to.  She then asked me if I encouraged him by putting him on his tummy etc, my answer to her went something like this..."why would I encourage him at this age, he is quite content to just lay on the floor making goo noises and be entertained by his older two siblings.  I already have two children and I know that he will evntually roll over, crawl and walk and I am in no hurry to push that along!" He is now 23 years of age and can do all of the things a normal 23 year old can do!!

My view is that children grow up so quickly and once they are off to kinder and school they are constantly trying to keep ahead or catch up to their peers so while they are babies and are innocent, let them grow and develop at their own pace.  If by chance there is some developmental delay you will soon find so just enjoy the innocence.

#3 Guest_roomformore_*

Posted 30 January 2009 - 11:22 PM

i have learnt to not count my chickens before they hatch. 'pardon the punn on being pregnant and giving birth' but...

all of my children rolled at 3mths, crawled at 5mths and walked at 10mths.  oh yes i was so proud, of course i was..


my first has just been diagnosed with aspergers
my second has speech delay (big time)
and my third... well she is only 7mths old, and already holding on with one hand to something and starting to take steps  oomg.gif  


who knows what setbacks i will face with her further along.

hopefully none, but the odds aren't lookin good. unsure.gif

#4 Delayfish

Posted 31 January 2009 - 07:08 AM

Ah, sleeping through. The most vague and annoying statement in the history of man motherhood. If anyone is silly enough to tell me their baby is 'sleeping through', I immediately issue a challenge, demand an explanation, and then make a decision about whether they remain on my Christmas Card List or are struck off for fraud.

When my first child was 4 months old we moved interstate. As soon as we arrived in Melbourne I contacted my local MCHN to make an appointment, and she invited me to join a new mothers group which waas starting that day. So all the other babies in my mum's group were about 2 months younger than mine, a fact that was quickly forgotten when the group was comparing discussing milestones. I felt so ostracised by the group who were constantly pointing out, dismissively, that there was no point talking to me as my DD "already had her first tooth" / "was already eating solids" / "had already submitted her thesis on Einstein's theory of relativity".

I kept pointing out that she was at least 2 months older than all the other babies, so probably she would reach some milestones first  wacko.gif but it didn't help.

I don't remember when my 2nd child did anything, poor mite, as PND made his first year a bit of a blur. I do remember though that he got his first tooth at 3 months and 1 week. I also remember how many people still don't believe me when I tell them this  wacko.gif So why did you ask in the first place????

I'm only a few weeks away from giving birth to our third child. MIDH, maybe we could spend the next year comparing their milestones and see whose baby is better?

Or if all else fails, maybe we could race them  dev (6).gif

#5 Kylie Orr

Posted 02 February 2009 - 03:23 PM

who knows what setbacks i will face with her further along. hopefully none

Oh, roomformore, I hope you have no more setbacks either.  What a hard slog you've had.  May the road ahead be a little smoother for you.

delayfish -  cclap.gif Well said.  
I'm only a few weeks away from giving birth to our third child. MIDH, maybe we could spend the next year comparing their milestones and see whose baby is better? Or if all else fails, maybe we could race them
Mine will win, but sure, if you want to take us on, feel free!

alreadyagran - I'm with you on the "encouraging" - well, not encouraging.  I like them laying there staring out a window, content, for as long as it will last!

#6 *xxxx*

Posted 02 February 2009 - 04:46 PM

I had everyone stressing me as to why?

DS1 wasn't rolling until 4.5m
DS1 didn't walk until 16.5m (but got up one day for perfect walking, no stumble falling, could walk the 1.5km to the local shop and back)
DS1 wasn't talking at 2yrs (10-15words only)

The MCHN had me stressed over DS1, making me doubt my 'it's his personality type'. He was assessed and they put him borderline ASD and had me seriously stressed. They did not take into account much that I said (in terms of personality or family genes for these things).

Fast forward to 3yrs, I have a very verbose 3yo talking in full sentances and very sociable. The MCHN was asking about what therapies we did (NONE). It was just his personality type.

DS2 is going the same way. Is 18m and not walking or talking. MCHN finally acknowledges it is the personality type of my boys.

As for sleeping through... I called the 9/10pm feed (and then down to bed for the night - they were not put down for the night before this) to 7am my 'sleeping through'. DS1 did this at 7-8wks, DS2 not until 11wks (although 6m - 15m was hell with him waking hourly each night).

I just let children develop at their own rates.

#7 smithsholidayroad

Posted 02 February 2009 - 05:23 PM

what a well written great post/article.

I really enjoyed reading this one.

With my DD I do not think about the milestones at all actually however every day I marvel at how her neurotypical brain just tells her body what to do.  I am truly enjoying just watching how her hand opens up and holds a piece of watermelon!
I have spent a good part of my DS' life ( brain injured at birth) of 4 years tracking every single minute of development in the hope that one day milestones would be reached, they have been albeit very slowly but in a completely different way to the norm.

the brain is an amazing thing.


#8 Kylie Orr

Posted 03 February 2009 - 10:01 AM

the brain is an amazing thing


#9 Obesa cantavit

Posted 03 February 2009 - 10:16 AM

Ahh milestones. I think in most cases they do more harm then good. As a first time mum I meet many parents hung up onm them. Especially the good old sleep through. As if these things have anything to do with how good a parent you are rolleyes.gif It took me having a second sleep challenged baby to realise that there is no magic answer to anything parent related. Babies are not robots with instructions. Doing A + B + C does not miraculously equal D!

DD2 didnt roll until AFTER she started crawling (9.5 mths) she was walking at 10.5mths. Brillient parenting on my behalf? I think not.

I vaguely remember milestones for both my girls, this baby however? I have a feeling that as long as they are talking, TT and eating solids by school age, I will be content laughing2.gif

#10 diary~dad

Posted 04 February 2009 - 09:27 AM

My first, Maisie, didn't walk until she was 15 months.  One night shortly before she took her first steps I ordered a pizza.  When the delivery guy came, and Maisie promptly raced to the door on all fours, he bellowed down the hall way to her "What are you doing!  Why aren't you walking?  You're too big to be crawling!"  He didn't get a tip.

#11 Feral*Spikey*

Posted 04 February 2009 - 09:37 AM

Mine couldn't sit herself up until 15 months, couldn't stand until 3 weeks later, took her first steps at 16 months, discovered sprinting (sigh) three days later. Discovered crawling about 2yo, as something to do. The only use those darn milestones were was to point out if there were delays (obviously there were). She's bang on normal for all of the growth and physical stuff, having expended all of her energy. Still delayed a bit in speech. The milestones were useful for spotting that. Otherwise, I think they're kind of pointless.

#12 lucinda79

Posted 04 February 2009 - 09:43 AM

I too am worried about the milestone race.

So much so in fact I try not to mention when DS has done things to others.

He was very early at teething and walking.  Everyone says he is advanced in his speech.  I get so embrassed about these sorts of comments and never know how to respond.  I don't want to look like I'm not proud of my DS (because I am) but I also don't want to look like the mum that knows it all or pushes her child.

Honestly though he has just done it all himself, no pressure placed on him to walk at 9 months, talk in two word phrases at 14 months, or start to toilet train at 15 months.

I follow his lead, if he is interested in something we give it ago.

And as far as I am concerned by the time he goes to school everyone will be walking, have there teeth, be talking and be toilet trained.

I figure it all evens out in the wash usually.

#13 mumma23

Posted 04 February 2009 - 09:46 AM

Kylie, one of my children missed all of the rolling/crawling & the baby nurses had me freaking out over it. I'd done everything right, floor time etc. Then when he was about 12 months old, he just got up & ran, simple as that! Phew!

The milestones are just a guide, they're individuals and develop at their own rate. As a rule, younger children take a little longer because they've got their older siblings to watch & to bring them toys etc so they tend to not bother. They're usually fixated on the activity.

#14 WowWowWubbzy

Posted 04 February 2009 - 10:11 AM

Ohh my I hear you!  Can I copy your post op?
I have someone on my facebook who NEEDS to read that!  I won't take credit for it I promise!

My dd was pretty much slow for all the milestones and I got the "are you worried" questions from my bf at the time almost daily.  No I wasn't I was annoyed with bf!

There is nothing wrong with dd!

#15 Battingeyelashes

Posted 04 February 2009 - 10:31 AM


I love it!

Kylie your blog reminded me so much of 2 of my friends who had babies a week before me, and a week after me.

My 1st friend's baby, if you believe her, has slept through since the day he was born. Eats 3 meals a day (@ 7 months!), has cut 6 teeth, and is going to walk as he can stand by himself, unassisted, on the lounge  ddoh.gif

Everytime she talks brags I sit there thinking "Smile and nod Suzie, smile and nod". I love her to death but her need to have the better baby drives me just a little crazy wacko.gif

My second friend is Bron, who posted 8 posts before me. Bron is this amazing mum and friend. She marvels at her 2 childrens milestones. I love the way she talks so proudly about her super Cooper and amazing Pepper. I love her stories. I could listen to her talk about her children 24/7.

Bragging and marvelling makes all the difference.

Suzie x

#16 Fish-Faced Moll

Posted 04 February 2009 - 10:35 AM

My mother seems quite fixated on milestones, and also on comparing my DD2 (8 months) to DD1 (10y).  Each milestone DD2 meets, my mother is eagerly pushing forward to the next.  

Example: I tell Mum DD2, just on 4 months old, is rolling over: "Oh, that's great.  Is she sitting by herself yet?"  I tell Mum DD2 is commando crawling (very bloody quickly, I might add!), Mum asks whether she's looking like walking soon laughing2.gif.

My mother is also Queen of the Retrospectively Altered Milestone, whereby one takes previous children's/grandchildren's milestones and brings them forward a couple of months for maximum effect.  

She is resolutely convinced that my DD1 walked at 8 months old.  "Is S (DD2) looking like walking yet?  A (DD1) was walking by now!"  I tell her no, A most certainly wasn't, she was just over 10 months when she took her first tentative steps.  "Are you sure?  I'm POSITIVE A was walking by then".  

Nothing I say can change her Retrospectively Altered Memories.  I let her have them though - I'm happy that she can get together with her grandmother peers and go through the whole milestone competition thing all over again: "Is your granddaughter walking yet?  No?  Oh, what a shame.  I'm sure she's not BEHIND or anything.  Although my granddaughter walked at 6 months old!  She is, of course, VERY advanced"  laughing2.gif.

#17 jasmine1925

Posted 10 February 2009 - 12:57 PM

I love this blog!!! My DD is 21 months old and can say about 20 words although most only understood by her family - however her cousin who is now 4 was apparently talking in full blown sentences by the time she was 10 months old (my memory seems a litlle hazy on this milestone!)

I constantly was asked by my in laws about how many words she was saying and do you think you should take her to a specialist to have her checked!

I on the other hand kept telling them she is completley fine - she will talk when she wants to talk and she can communicate so well with us without words - isnt that just as important???

#18 Kylie Orr

Posted 10 February 2009 - 01:19 PM

she will talk when she wants to talk

Don't encourage talking, jasmine1925, it only leads to talking back!!

Nothing I say can change her Retrospectively Altered Memories. I let her have them though - I'm happy that she can get together with her grandmother peers and go through the whole milestone competition thing all over again: "Is your granddaughter walking yet? No? Oh, what a shame. I'm sure she's not BEHIND or anything. Although my granddaughter walked at 6 months old! She is, of course, VERY advanced"

Love it!

#19 kadoodle

Posted 10 February 2009 - 01:38 PM

Teddy68, your mother and mine must have been seperated at birth!  Mine is driving me mental with DD2 - "is she rolling yet?" "are you sure she's not retarded?"  She's bloody 4 months old!

#20 Custard

Posted 10 February 2009 - 07:11 PM

Sometimes milestones can be helpful.  A couple of mothers in our group have kids younger than DD and her little friend.  They kept watching and wondering why their little babies weren't crawling and walking yet like ours were.  Then we gently reminded them that their kids were doing things at the milestones, while ours were really early and they shouldn't compare them.

Still doesn't stop everyone from wanting to rush to the next milestone!

#21 TazzieD

Posted 10 February 2009 - 10:16 PM

This is a great blog entry!

I remember with DD1 that I wanted her to achieve all milestones as soon as she could and I willed her with all of my might to do so. She was 'normal' which was lovely of course, and on occasion I was able to 'beat' my mothers group peers.. other times I wondered why she was 'slow'. Funny how I see this behaviour in my neighbour who has her first boy (6 months old).

DD2 on the other hand - I don't want her to do it!!!! All it means is that she is growing up! I love her being a little baby, just lying there and cooing. Sadly, she has decided it is time to roll, eat her feet, reach out for things etc  - all at the 'normal' age of 4 months.

I wish I had the wisdom when DD1 was born! Too many unnecessary sleepless nights, and too much emphasis on the unimportant things. Instead, this time I will enjoy my snuggly baby cuddles and worry about milestones later.

#22 Surviving

Posted 17 February 2009 - 07:12 PM

My first child probably wasn't that slow at most things. But everyone else's kids were early so she was always last (she was the youngest by a few weeks). She was slow to speak though and at 2 would only say 4 words. She was putting 2 words together at 2.5 so she was within normal range. I don't think she has met the stopping tantrums milestone yet.

My second child rolled at 10 months, crawled at 12 and walked at 17. Both were good sitters though.

It is hard when everyone else is talking about what their kids can do and mine do nothing. I guess we shouldn't take away from their joy but ...

And then there are the times they claim the glory for it. They read to their kids and they talk early. I read to my kids and barely get a word before 18 months ...

I guess I am different to others and so are my kids. Maybe we are always going to stick out some.

Both my kids WERE good sleepers as babies. At the moment I might trade a little of that for a 4yr who goes to bed easily!

And people were suggesting I do something about the slowness - hearing tests and physio - but there is nothing wrong with being a little slow.

And then there are the boy/girl expectations. I have 2 girls who although they like pink and dresses behave sometimes like boys.

#23 beckate

Posted 17 February 2009 - 07:27 PM

What a fantastic blog! Thank you! I have spent months worrying over Harrisons milestone. He didn't get a tooth til 11 months! There was 5 months of worry.... He's now 17 months and not walking and other people have worried me about this enough to speak to the GP about it!!!!! The doctor looked at me like I was stupid "do you see how quick he crawls" the doctor said.
"ummmmmm, yeh."
"I wouldn't worry about walking either! He stands when he needs to reach something and walks along furniture but its far quicker to crawl for this one"
"great. is that is? that will be $51"

#24 merk

Posted 18 March 2009 - 02:39 PM

ah yes, the sleeping-through lies..... here are some of the answers I got after I asked for a bit more explanation:

"I only have to get up and give her the dummy and she goes back to sleep again" (3 times in the night)
"I just have to give her a few pats then she sleeps again"
"I only have to give her a feed at midnight and that's all"

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