I am a parent to three children. Not one. Not just two. THREE. I’m not one to call myself an expert (because really, I’m not), but when it comes to the routine pediatrician visits, this is not my first rodeo.
My baby girl is 9 months old. By now, I’ve been to more than 25 routine visits and get the gist of what’s to come:
check the height: check.
check the weight: check.
check head circumference: check.
lots of questions, lots of answers, vaccinations, home. check. check. check.
Thus, when I took my baby in for her nine month checkup, I left feeling a little annoyed, a little depressed and questioning my parenting, as well as her doctor’s medical credentials.
Let me preface: before her checkup, I was asked to fill out the ASQ-3, which for those unfamiliar, is a questionnaire asking varied questions about developmental milestones and I was to provide information on whether she was meeting each milestone given her age. As I sat filling this out, a thought occurred to me,
“This is my third go-around. I’m not concerned about these things… do I need to be?”
Frankly, I had hoped that the whole questioning myself was over after the first kid!
I finished my paperwork, not concerned about any of the information I had provided and we proceeded into the appointment. As we sat there, the doctor performed her routine exam and began discussing her concerns about my baby’s development after reviewing my responses.
Ding, ding, ding! Yes, Allyson, you DO need to continue to question yourself!
The doctor said that babies at this age should be pulling themselves up to things, crawling and saying words and understanding them.
I sat there, annoyed, biting my tongue and resisting the urge to not-so-politely inform the doctor that I was none too concerned with her assessment. Instead, I listened, but inwardly continued to recount all of the things that she IS doing and reaffirmed why I am not overly concerned about two issues she saw as an indication of being developmentally delayed.
My daughter is not crawling forward. However, she moves all over the entire room by crawling backwards or worming her way forward to an object. She pushes herself up on knees, stiffens her arms to get tall enough to grab things that seem out of reach, but alas, she is not crawling. Apparently, this is a cause for concern.
She is also not pulling herself up onto chairs that would fall over on her or to a table that she could pull everything off of. This, is also a cause for concern.
Also, by nine months, you need to be speaking clearly and understanding what you are saying. So the lack of constant, “dadadada, mamamama, babababa” is troubling.
As I sat there, I just kept questioning, “What is going on here?” Why do I have to pretend that my sweet nine month old needs to be a two year old? This is my third and final baby. This is it, folks. I want to enjoy this precious time with her being small and not fully mobile while I can because that time is coming. It is coming before I am ready for it.
Let me pause and say, I completely understand the need to assess and identify potential issues early. I am very grateful for good medical care. However, as I mentioned above, this is my third baby and by now, I’m pretty confident that babies are all different. Some meet milestones much earlier than their expected time and some are just a little lazier and take a month or so longer to get there. This doesn’t mean they’re delayed.
So maybe, Doctor Smarty Pants, when you tell me that you are concerned about my child’s development, follow it up with a way to not make me want to jump off a cliff.
Or call my mom.
Or get the strongest and tallest drink I can get at Starbucks.
I know, I seem like that mom that just isn’t ready to let her baby grow up. Unabashedly, I am. But, I’m also that mom that doesn’t want to unnecessarily rush growing up. The world will take care of that all on its own. For now, let them be little, people. Let them be little.