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Tired of comparisons. I like my son the way he is.

post #1 of 71
Thread Starter 

My son is 22 months. I used to used to subscribe to a child-development newsletter that came weekly. I loved reading it every week, until my son was about eighteen-months-old. Then I couldn't take it anymore. Same thing with several mommy blogs I used to read. I have several blogging friends who had similar due dates, and we went through pregnancy and infanthood together. Now I can't look at their blogs. Finally, I have three friends who have kids that were born within weeks of my son, and I don't want to see them anymore.

I just hate feeling like my son is not “normal.”

 

All of the kids I hear about who are his age are talking, reciting the alphabet, drinking from open cups, going up and down stairs by themselves, sleeping in their own beds instead of cribs, and starting potty training.

My son is the love of my life. As far as I’m concerned, he is perfect in every way. He does not talk at all, but is very “verbal” and has a high language comprehension (he can follow very specific directions). He has been evaluated by early intervention and a speech therapist and does not have enough of a delay to qualify for intervention. In other words, the experts say he’s normal.

 

He cannot drink from an open cup at all. He spills water everywhere. I have finally gotten him to drink from a straw cup with a lid, but he prefers his sippy. Also, when I weaned him from the breast at eighteen months because we were ttc and I wasn’t ovulating, I started giving him bottle of milk or water at bedtime. He is very attached to it, gets very happy and joyous when I give it to him, and I don’t feel like taking it away right now. He loves his crib and his blankie as well, and to be honest, it never occurred to me to start potty training this early. I always thought that happened around three or so, but now it seems that everyone thinks it should happen by the age of two. Is this just a reversal of trend? Or am I hanging out with the wrong people?

 

I don’t really need to be reassured that my son is “normal.” My motherly instinct says this is so and my pediatrician agrees. Also, I should point out that nobody is making comparisons except me, but it makes me feel self-conscious, because I imagine that people are thinking it even if they don’t say it.

 

I guess I’m hoping to hear stories from people who are going through the same thing.

post #2 of 71

hugs mama!

 

first thing, don't shun your mommy friends with kiddos the same age, it is good for your LO to be around them, and I bet he will pick up some skills faster because of it. DS is only 12 months and he LOVES being around older kids with more advanced skills. If only I could give him an older sibling . . .

 

As for potty-training: when I was growing up and helping my parents' friends raise their kids (I babysat alot beginning age 11) 2 was the "norm" for potty training. It is only the last 10 years or so I have noticed more kids aren't potty trained (or potty learned) until age 3+. Most of my friends look for signs of ready-ness. Alot of them do introduce the potty somewhere between 18 months and 2. This isn't to say they are done potty training by two, but they start getting the ball rolling at that point.

 

as far as the open cups, there are a couple brands that do a staged cup system, you could work on that. All kids do things at their own pace, alot of it is just giving them the opportunity to learn the skills. I know some mamas have kids practice using an open cup in the bath. I don't b/c as it is, DS tries to drink the bathwater.

 

Hang in there, and I know it is tough being around his agemates that seem more advanced, but it does give you something to look forward to (I can't wait when he does this!) or dread - I am so glad he can't/doesn't do this yet!, and gives him some social time where he can be learning too.

post #3 of 71

Quote:
Originally Posted by alittlesandy View Post

 it never occurred to me to start potty training this early.


I think this is at the crux of it all. It's all about what the parent exposes the kid to/teaches them (and I don't say that in a way meaning you've slacked or something, because you most definitely haven't!!!) Everyone has different priorities & different ways of parenting. My son didn't start clapping until I saw a baby 6 months younger than him doing it, and decided to introduce the concept to him. We were never the type to clap when he did something (and maybe that was wrong? I don't know, but it just never occurred to us) so there was no way he could have learned it. Who knows, he may STILL not be clapping now at 22mos if I hadn't panicked after seeing the other kid clapping (and don't do that... don't panic, don't compare, it's not worth it!!!) On the other hand, my son was using an open cup around 7 months old because we didn't want to do sippy cups so he never got introduced to them. Same with things like counting or the alphabet -- it's possible many of those kids are watching an 'educational' DVD every day or playing with electronic alphabet toys or in our case, listening to an alphabet song on youtube because Mommy has no clue what song to play & randomly chose one that he got attached to! Am I making sense? It's not something you did wrong or an indication of whether your DS is 'normal' -- it's simply what he was exposed to repeatedly or got really excited about.

 

My DS is still cosleeping & still nurses 10+ times a day. I'm sure with effort I could help him sleep in his own bed or stop nursing... or learn to sight-read or identify all the presidents etc. -- but I just don't want to, see no need to, place no value in it, or whatever... I suppose if he developed a big fascination with dinosaurs I would get lots of books and teach him all the different kinds but that hasn't happened so he, sadly, knows nothing about dinosaurs (I'm being silly here, I hope you get my point though!!)

post #4 of 71

My son is 22 months as well and I get that same feeling.  There is nothing wrong with my son, he is healthy and perfect, and yet there are a lot of things other 22 month olds seem to be doing that he doesn't.  He is just now starting to say some words, he is not at all interested in doing pees and poops on the potty, he still cosleeps and nurses through the night (although I would like to nightwean).  I do think a lot of it has to do with not being verbal, for example we saw a little girl at the library who was 20 months and could answer questions like 'what's your name' 'when's your birthday' and she could sing the abc song (!!!)  BUT, it's hard to compare with my son, of course he can't say his name - he can't say lots of things!  It doesn't mean he doesn't know it.  And the abc song, well that's just been taught through repititon and I don't ever sing that song (and again, he would need to talk to say the alphabet!)  So I try not to worry.  I'm proud of him and I think he's awesome :)

 

... well except at the moment he's chasing the cat and screaming at it :/

 

Anyway, that's just my personal vent about the same issue you are having!  You're not alone!  And our babies are perfect :love

post #5 of 71

My son's 27 months and he's not even close to starting potty training yet.  I'm waiting until he's ready which will probably be closer to 3.  At 22 months, he was just starting to say some new words, but I really wasn't worried about it.  Open cup drinking just started over the summer.  Before that, he would just pour out the contents.  Just give it time.  He's still really young. 

post #6 of 71

yeah, you're just hanging out with the wrong people ;) 

no really though, it does just depend on where people's priorities lie for most of these things. i mean really, these are mostly things that are "taught" rather than developmental. like a pp said, i also never considered clapping something i should work on with my kid...until i saw it being mentioned as something other kids could do. i mean....i don;t walk around clapping so where is she going to learn this. same with waving....or that "so big" thing that i don't understand. now dd is in "school" half-days while i work there and at 15 months she is counting. first it was to "3" now today it went up to something sounding like 7. ok....the kid doesn't really even talk yet. it's totally rote and something i would have never done with her.

 

open cup is also something that is learned. it's not some magical child development skill. i also skipped the sippy cup and started open cup at 6 months. so by 10 months or so she could drink on her own. it's not that she's some sort of cup protegy....it's just something we worked on because i didn't want to have to deal with teaching her to drink from a sippy and then an open cup. on the other hand SIL loves giving my niece who is 24 months the sippy. it's just that her priorities are different. she spent alot of time teaching her signing. i could care less about doing it with my kid. just different priorities.

 

with the kids i work with who are from 20-24 months or so...there's such a variety and it's pretty obvious which kids are doing things on their own, which kids are flashcard-at-home kids, and which might have a little of both. they're all great kids in their own way. just because one can repeat "brown bear brown bear" by heart....it doesn't impress me at all. it's the things they do on their own, those little moments of discovery, that impress me and excite me.

 

as for the potty training i'm trying to get my head around the trends as well. i want to start early and slowly and i know alot of people here on MDC do that as well. it's just one way of doing it. in my circle of real-life people most kids i know start around three so it's the opposite of your situation. the idea of starting before 3 is just non-existant here for some reason. it's to the point that where one woman i know DOES train early...it's something to gossip about and look down on. lame huh?

post #7 of 71

Always remember too, there is a certain percentage of parents who will say their child does these things just to keep up with what is expected. Chances are at least one parent is exaggerating or out right lying because they feel the same way you do. I've experienced with both DD and DS, people telling me their child is doing something they aren't because they seem to think my kids are normal. Most of the things you listed don't even have a "normal" age, it all depends on the kids and what their parents decide to teach/allow/force. We don't force DS to sleep in his own bed, so he doesn't. Ever. Sometimes he will sleep in DD's bed, but the rest of the time DH and I are the ones who get to deal with toddler kicks in the middle of the night.

post #8 of 71
Your son is perfect. In this country we are in such a hurry. We think by two children should be reading, writing and doing arithmetic. I think this is unfair. Children are not a way for us to show off or compete with each other. The childhood years are sacred and should be respected IMO.

I wouldn't keep him from other children his age as this may send a message that you actually are afraid something is wrong. Take him everywhere with your head held high! Besides, it seems that the timeline for cchildren's milestones has more to do with personality than with smarts. They are like flowers and bloom when they are good and ready!
post #9 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by dalia View Post

Your son is perfect. In this country we are in such a hurry. We think by two children should be reading, writing and doing arithmetic. I think this is unfair. Children are not a way for us to show off or compete with each other. The childhood years are sacred and should be respected IMO.

I wouldn't keep him from other children his age as this may send a message that you actually are afraid something is wrong. Take him everywhere with your head held high! Besides, it seems that the timeline for cchildren's milestones has more to do with personality than with smarts. They are like flowers and bloom when they are good and ready!


I completely agree 

 

I do hear you on the whole avoiding conversation about 'milestones' and that sort of thing though- DS hit like 10 months and some of the things that other parents said their children were doing (although who *really* knows, especially online...) felt pretty far away from my sweet boy- removing myself (from online chat/comparisons that felt competitive in nature) helped me stop making comparisons. However, we do still go to IRL playgroups and that sort of thing. 

post #10 of 71

I agree that everything you listed has to do with what the kid is being taught and to some extent their temperament, except for talking, and talking has such a huge range on what and when are normal. DD learned to kick a ball about 6 months later than average because we never thought to show her that she can, all it took was showing her one time. she's going to be very late to ball throwing if I have anything to do with it, because I actively discourage throwing anything. DD can only drink from an open cup if someone else is holding it, because if I let her she just dumps it on herself, and I'd rather not deal with it, I know some on here are very anti-sippy, but I don't feel like it does that much harm, especially if it's water. and "starting potty training" doesn't tell you anything about how well it's going, or when the kid will be going accident free (or if the kid will have a regression later on). DD can do stairs, because we have a lot of them, but not walking, because her legs are too short. but if he hadn't moved into a place with a lot of stairs right after she turned one, I'm not sure she would know how to do them yet. I really see stairs as an environmental thing usually. and I bet there are areas in which your son is ahead of most kids. I would guess in areas that are harder to spot, like emotional and relational development. 

post #11 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marissamom View Postsome on here are very anti-sippy, but I don't feel like it does that much harm, especially if it's water.

I thought it was the jaw development that was the problem with sippies, not what goes into the sippies.

post #12 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by sapphire_chan View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by Marissamom View Postsome on here are very anti-sippy, but I don't feel like it does that much harm, especially if it's water.

I thought it was the jaw development that was the problem with sippies, not what goes into the sippies.


I hear teeth a lot more than jaw, and one of the major concerns with teeth and sippys is that sugary liquids pool in the mouth.

post #13 of 71

Don't feel so self-conscious.  Things like language are so variable anyway.  My son's the same age as yours, and he's very verbal, but his life would be so much poorer if he didn't get a chance to hang out with all his little friends who are less so.  And even if they're less easy to quantify in a "milestones" letter, all the little ones have their own interests and strengths, and all learn from eachother.  The moms with more than one kid are usually the most relaxed about all these things, since they've already seen how all this variability washes out in the end.  And things like the cups are really just an exposure thing.  My son's great at an open cup but still has zero clue what to do with a straw.  And he'd be still sleeping in our bed if I wasn't due with #2 in a week.

post #14 of 71

more coming... but I need to eit since this editor hates me!


I agree with PP's that many of those things are about exposure.  All parents have different priorities when it comes to parenting.  I know some that did baby signing with the explicit intention of having their child say please and thank you early on so they'd learn to be polite.  Others really focus on night-weaning and get their kids night-weaned at a younger age.  We did to early potty training simply because I was very, very sick of all the tantrums during diaper changes and what DH referred to as "dynamical diapering" (because she'd take off running the second I got a poopy diaper off of her BEFORE she was cleaned off!  She STILL does it but at least it's from the potty and not with a dirty diaper.

post #15 of 71

My DS2 is a normal, bright and happy kid.  He didn't say any words until he was 2yo, but he babbled all the time.  He didn't really start talking until a couple months ago so he was around 2 1/2.  We're still working on getting him to drink out of a cup. 

 

DS1 would talk and drank from a cup regularly by 20mo.  Different kids do things at different times, being a little ahead or behind on one specific thing isn't that big of a deal.

post #16 of 71

 

Originally Posted by dalia View Post

Your son is perfect. In this country we are in such a hurry. We think by two children should be reading, writing and doing arithmetic. I think this is unfair. Children are not a way for us to show off or compete with each other. The childhood years are sacred and should be respected IMO.

I wouldn't keep him from other children his age as this may send a message that you actually are afraid something is wrong. Take him everywhere with your head held high! Besides, it seems that the timeline for cchildren's milestones has more to do with personality than with smarts. They are like flowers and bloom when they are good and ready!



It scares me how little childhood is valued in this country. Kids in our neighbourhood are trained and I was astonished to learn that  a 4year old was considered behind and troubled, because he didn't know all his letters yet (but could recite all numbers). What is the point of spending months and months of pushing some random facts onto children? It made me feel so sad to realize how everyone is always pushing their children to learn more faster and earlier.

 

I cannot stand all those comparisons either. My son started walking very, very early. It is what he could do, but people kept asking us, what suggestions we had for them, so their children would walk early as well. I am just baffled by all this competition and pressure. On the other hand, people are concerned for my now 13month old, because he does not talk yet. We are asked if we read to him, we are told to talk more to him. But that's just who he is.

 

I have this great book by a Swiss Pediatritian (Largo), it is only available in German. But I love it. He did two longitudinal studies of a large cohort of Swiss children, recording their development in every area (mobility, language, communication, bonding, play etc) from birth to 4 years. The book always shows the whole range and did not only focuse on the first 30%. He also discusses, that sometimes it is necassary to help children along, and that children that get delayed because of illness, abuse etc usually can catch up. 

 

He also points out that once children hit school age, the range of what's normal in a class of 6year olds is enourmous. Some kids in some areas will be 2years advanced and others will be 2 years behind. With age the range of what's expected at one age just increases. And rarely are kids ahead in all areas, nor are they behind in all areas. Plus it varies over time. Kids don't learn linearly, they learn in phases and spurts.

 

Anyways, I could go on and on and on. What I've learned so far about parenting is to take my child as it is, to look at him, love him, to encourage him and take time to get to know this little human.

post #17 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marissamom View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by sapphire_chan View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by Marissamom View Postsome on here are very anti-sippy, but I don't feel like it does that much harm, especially if it's water.

I thought it was the jaw development that was the problem with sippies, not what goes into the sippies.


I hear teeth a lot more than jaw, and one of the major concerns with teeth and sippys is that sugary liquids pool in the mouth.

Except for taking sippies to bed, which would happen more with sippies than open cups (obviously smile.gif), sippies would have no more effect on caries than any other method of taking in liquid. Where sippies become a problem is that they end up being used as dummy breasts and the toddler with a sucking impulse sucks on the sippy all day and things get out of alignment. Some kids it doesn't matter, others end up needing speech therapy as a direct result of too much sippy time.


Ah, and it's not the jaw, sorry about that, it's the palate.

 

None of which matters for a kid who only drinks from sippies occasionally, of course.
 

post #18 of 71

Ok, I finally have a chance to get back to my reponse that I didn't finish before.  It's so annoying because I have to type this in gedit because I've giving up on writing anything on MDC! 

Anyways, I also wanted to mention that I really hope you don't give up on your friendships just because your kids are at different places.  It doesn't sound like your friends are purposely trying to make these comparisions between your kids (if they were my response would be totally different!) and you might loose out on some good friendships.  This actually reminded me of an incident with a friend of mine whose kid had some initial delays (he's completely caught up now after OT).  We had gone to visit that friend with DD and my friend's mother was there too (so the grandmother of this boy).  DD was an early walker and so the grandmother saw this and made a rather snide comment comparing to the two kids. :(  I felt so embarassed (and so bad for my friend whose son is absolutely delightful).  I would've been very sad to loose her friendship over something like that when it was neither of our faults but simply that one kid was walking early than the other.  Now that the kids are older he's "ahead" when it comes to sleeping through the night and weaning so it's not really a linear thing at all. 

Oh, and belltree, can you send me the name of that book? I'd love to read it!  I'd definitely believe that about elementary school which is just another reason I hate the way schools are currently set up but that's a rant for another day. ;)

Quote:
Originally Posted by belltree View Post

 



It scares me how little childhood is valued in this country. Kids in our neighbourhood are trained and I was astonished to learn that  a 4year old was considered behind and troubled, because he didn't know all his letters yet (but could recite all numbers). What is the point of spending months and months of pushing some random facts onto children? It made me feel so sad to realize how everyone is always pushing their children to learn more faster and earlier.

 

I cannot stand all those comparisons either. My son started walking very, very early. It is what he could do, but people kept asking us, what suggestions we had for them, so their children would walk early as well. I am just baffled by all this competition and pressure. On the other hand, people are concerned for my now 13month old, because he does not talk yet. We are asked if we read to him, we are told to talk more to him. But that's just who he is.

 

I have this great book by a Swiss Pediatritian (Largo), it is only available in German. But I love it. He did two longitudinal studies of a large cohort of Swiss children, recording their development in every area (mobility, language, communication, bonding, play etc) from birth to 4 years. The book always shows the whole range and did not only focuse on the first 30%. He also discusses, that sometimes it is necassary to help children along, and that children that get delayed because of illness, abuse etc usually can catch up. 

 

He also points out that once children hit school age, the range of what's normal in a class of 6year olds is enourmous. Some kids in some areas will be 2years advanced and others will be 2 years behind. With age the range of what's expected at one age just increases. And rarely are kids ahead in all areas, nor are they behind in all areas. Plus it varies over time. Kids don't learn linearly, they learn in phases and spurts.

 

Anyways, I could go on and on and on. What I've learned so far about parenting is to take my child as it is, to look at him, love him, to encourage him and take time to get to know this little human.

post #19 of 71
Thread Starter 

Thank you to everyone for the wonderful and supportive responses. However, there are two things that I think are a little more complicated than how they are being stated here. First of all, I honestly don't think it has much to do with priorities or exposure, and to be honest, I hate those words, because they seem to imply that it's something I'm doing. I think often times people take credit for behavior that has not been taught, but is simply born, or part of their child's personality. I will give you an example:

 

One of my mother friends doesn't believe in childproofing, gates, containment devices, or saying "no." I think that's lovely, but her son, who is the same as mine, never leaves her lap. And when he does he sits in the middle of the carpet and chews on something. She thinks he is so "well-behaved" because of the way she raised him, but I can tell you that he was that way from day one. My son, on the other hand, tried climbing out of his sling at age 3 months (he was looking around the room and waiving his arms and legs the day he was born--the midwife and doctor said they had never seen a newborn like that). If I didn't childproof my house and gate the stairs I could never leave his side. He is a very active explorer, and knowing the word "no" has saved him from injury several times. Believe me, having an active explorer was not a priority of mine, although I love him like that and wouldn't change him for the world. But it's really complicated to say, "Don't deprive him of that friendship." For one thing, being at her house is utterly exhausting for me, because my son gets into everything. Also, her son doesn't really like my son's style of play, and she is very protective of her son, which makes me feel defensive and feel bad for my son. So it's easier not to go over there. Does that make sense? Oh, and she won't come to my house because we have plastic toys. 

 

It was my priority to get my son to drink from an open cup, and I didn't buy a sippy for a looooong time. He was exclusively breastfed until twenty months, but at six months I started giving him a cup of water. Not until I realized that no matter how tirelessly I worked with my son (for months) he was only going to dump a cup of water over on himself as soon as I gave it to him. This was fine in the summer, but as soon as it got cold I bought him sippies, because otherwise it meant changing his clothes ten times each day. As for clapping, stacking blocks, putting together legos, and coloring, I never showed him how to do those things, never did them in front of him that I was aware of, and he picked them up quickly and naturally.

 

My mother bought my son a potty, because she believes in early potty training. However, not only will he not sit on it under any circumstances, he prefers to jump off of it and then proceed to dismantle it. Unless I somehow force him or discipline him to sit on it (which I'm not going to do), it's not going to happen anytime soon.

 

The same goes for language. I am a teacher and both my husband and I very verbal. I read to my son all day and night. He loves to sit and look at books. I sing him the alphabet song every time I change his diapers. I try to work with him and coach him. He refuses to talk! One of my favorite things to do is say to him, "Oscar, say Mama," to which he shakes his head and says, "Uh-uh." lol.gif

 

As for being around other kids, I take my son to several play groups and to the library reading time. However, I find that he does much better around older kids because he can rough house with them and they are a little more patient with him. And moms of older kids tend to forget when their kids did what. Which I find refreshing.

post #20 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by alittlesandy View Post

First of all, I honestly don't think it has much to do with priorities or exposure, and to be honest, I hate those words, because they seem to imply that it's something I'm doing. I think often times people take credit for behavior that has not been taught, but is simply born, or part of their child's personality.

 

I hope we didn't offend you, I don't think anyone was trying to say you were doing something wrong!! I, at least, was referring to priorities/exposure in terms of things like reciting ABC's etc.

 

There are a million different parenting styles and a million different personality types in children, the various combinations of these can result in so many differences in terms of 'milestones'....

 

I do sometimes feel self-conscious about things DS is behind in -- things like sleeping through the night (I rejoice when he sleeps 2-3 hours straight) or nursing frequency (he's getting better but still nurses more than a newborn most days!!) It's kind of weird having a 22mo that clings to me ALL. DAY. LONG. and has a huge vocabulary but won't say a single word to people outside our family. Most of our friends' kids are much more... hmm I guess 'emotionally mature' than my DS. I try not to compare but I am constantly second-guessing myself & thinking maybe there IS something wrong with him, sensory issues or emotional/social delays or something, and then I realize he's fine, and then something will happen to make me think he's not. I don't know if I'm making sense... I guess I'm just saying I do understand where you're coming from even though I'm coming from a slightly different angle.

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