Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Thou shalt not always need to tell the truth

I vow to you here and now that the next time and most likely every time after, a new or newish mom tells me her child is doing something worrisome like not sleeping or refusing to eat vegetables or slapping the daylights out of the other parent, I will smile reassuringly and tell her that it is absolutely normal and it will pass.

And in instances where an eager young parent tells me that her little monkey is walking far earlier than developmentally expected or speaking fluently when other children the same age are barely grunting mama, I will shake my head in wonder and amazement, and say sincerely something like - clearly you gave birth to a genius.

Because I will tell you this: We new parents WANT to hear this. We NEED the reassurance that our kid is normal or exceptional. When I tell you that my little sweetheart is smacking his daddy, and you furrow your brow, frown and worriedly ask Really??? you might just as well have said You know, scientific evidence strongly correlates hitting as a toddler with becoming an axe murderer as an adult.

Here's the thing. When someone like me is telling you something like that, I need you to stretch yourself outside of your own experience. Just because your little buttercup didn't go through a hitting phase doesn't mean that mine going through one is abnormal or rare.

And if you need to tell me that boys develop slower than girls can you please at least throw in something like but Deaglan seems to be the exception to this rule or sheesh, I can't believe he's already doing that!

Because unless I come to you and say something like Deaglan just sprouted horns and a tail and is insisting on carrying this pitchfork around I really only want you to tell me that he's normal and this phase will pass.


  1. Spot on, Kim :) Some people just need to learn to (ahem) keep their mouth shut! On another note, thanks for the comments - I wish I had a magic answer for you, but as you can see, I need it myself. I don't know how people potty train in 3 days, like you hear. My kids have all been very resistant - and you can't force them to do it. and none of mine ever showed any early interest, like books say, Dad and I were always the ones bringing it up. You don't want to hear this, but William was FOUR before it was all said and done. I've never met a more stubborn child. Anyway. Good luck with that! (meant in the nicest way possible) xoxo

  2. By the fourth child, I have finally learned not to share too much about my child's behavior or development with other moms. On the whole, I don't want that raised eyebrow or surprised reaction when I discuss a setback or frustration. I know that every child proceeds in their own normal way. I just don't need supposedly "interested" moms to give me advice on how to get the job done right. All of my boys didn't potty train until they were 4. (You can imagine the comments from my in-laws :)I kept that information to myself during those years.

    Deaglan's behavior is normal and you're doing great. Hugs!

  3. Each child develops in his own way and has his own peculiarities. And these ought to be cherished as they are what make him different from other kids. Dont listen to those who think their children are the best, they haven't seen half the world. :)

    Deaglan is very cute and absolutely normal :)

    ♥ Chaitra

  4. I've found even random strangers will offer their opinions on my child rearing techniques. Once I was in the grocery store and a woman scolded me for giving my son a pen - "You know that's toxic," she said. Hmmm - she did not let me answer but 1. the pen had the ink taken out and 2. ink is non-toxic!

    I'm certainly not the perfect parent. I hold two degrees - one in nursing and one in child psychology. I feel pretty confident most of the time, but when I am concerned about something my child is doing, I, too, just need a little reassurance that he's on track. Not the comment, "Well, maybe he could be a little less quiet." Yes, T Rex is an extremely quiet child. I mentioned it to my mom, and she laughed and said, "So where you! And you turned out fine - just relax and enjoy what you've been blessed with."

    We can all take a lesson from my dear sweet mother. We just need to ease the other mother's concerns and make her feel lucky for what she has. Even the tough stuff we will look back on someday and feel all nostalgic.

    Be well, Kim, and you are a fantastic mother. I don't know if anyone said something particular that made you feel bad but if they did, shame on them. Clearly Deaglan is a charming, handsome, bright and very loved little boy and is very fortunate to have you and Shaune as parents.

    (Oh, I will try to put together in a future post how a nurse practitioner differs from an RN - I've had a couple questions not including yours. And the material for the outfits - $3/yard and it took 1 yard per outfit. The buttons were the most expensive part at $4/pack. I purchased the shirts and applied the fabric. I found these shirts at a local department store for $6 - a little pricy but I had to get nice ones for the auction - it is more of a high end deal. Probably $12 total per outfit for supplies. They are being set at a reserve bidding price of $50 for each set. Guess, I did better than I thought! Oh, 3 hours total to make both.)

  5. oh dear, I have been trying to go back to what i might have said as I follow your (delightful) blog. My son REFUSED to poop in the toliet. He never whet himself once in training pants, but poop was sacrid, to be saved. he would go outside to play after hours on the potty chair and then POOP in the flower beds. The apartment manager was appauled!. I finally took a belt to his butt - the last time ever but he was almost four and would start school the next year.... see we all have our secrets, our fears, things we never forget - My fear that he was retarded never panned out - he is just a normal human making mistakes and floundering through life just like the rest of us. I think your wonderful - you read, and study and do the very best for him - in the end that is it. then they grow up.
    From my perspective hearing what other mothers (most of us older, kindly, grandmother types),say is just another way of sharing your joy in this little man.

  6. Hey Kim
    Very well said. As a mom, who looks much younger than I actually am, I'm constantly getting looks and/or unsolicited advice.
    For example, I went to the grocery store really early one morning after Aiden ate and was asked by the cashier if he need to eat. I was appalled and had no idea what to say.
    You worry about you and Deaglan and forget about the others!
    Hope all is well!

  7. Ah yes.... the unwanted advice that other parents (or even non-parents) freely give! Gotta love that. It can be sooo infuriating, Kim. I feel you, I do. Our children are so close in age and believe me, I see other kids her age surpass her in many areas. But the most important thing is this - Your child is happy and has two loving parents to care for him. That's it! That's all that matters. Because none of the rest of the shit matters. When he walks, potty trains and says three-word sentences does not make or break him! You just have to remind yourself of that.

    I have to remind myself every day that even though my child isn't saying many words and even though she didn't walk until 15 months old, she's a happy, healthy child. And isn't that all I really care about? Someone else's kid may be a genius now but they may also be in therapy later from their over-protective parent who wouldn't let them be a kid. Meanwhile, our kids will be sitting out that doctor's office eating ice cream and laughing.... :-)

  8. I often say some variant of "that's normal, it will pass" because it's the truth. There's such a huge range of what is developmentally reasonable that very little is cause for concern. But I rarely express surprise on the other end of the spectrum, because I've dealt with enough kis/parents to know that early speech/walking/eating with a spoon or what have you are not signs of genius. I have one son who walked and talked ridiculously early and another who was very late. Both are gifted students now. Each child is just his/her own self. Besides, unsolicted advice is rarely called for or appreciated.

  9. I love this post!!!! You are so right!

  10. I seem to remember at least one of my kids sprouting horns...but I never told the other moms about it. Some things, you just keep to yourself.

  11. sadie is a little devil at times too. She has hit and kicked me on more than one occasion but by far her favorite thing to do is run away from me - especially when I am carrying more then I can handle and wearing heels!! It is not a sight you want to see!

  12. He is normal and this shall pass.
    (And he's special and gifted and you should enjoy every minute of it.)

  13. YES!!! Sometimes people, with good intention, can come off to "teaching" for me. By the way, Deaglan is perfect as he is. One of my mantras as an educator is, "Children come into the world as PURE PROMISE it is up to us to feed and nurture that promise". Keep nurturing his promise and it will all continue to blossom into greatness. :)

  14. yes!:) and deaglan is such a cutie pie!


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