I erroneously believed that the big milestones in baby’s life would be easy to identify and document on a calendar. A family member saw an Instagram story video in which my son was walking and asked, “He’s taken his first steps?!” A long time ago! But did we classify it as fully walking? Not really. Apologies to all interested parties that I didn’t send an “HE’S WALKING!!” update. (I’m not actually sorry. That would be annoying, and I would unsubscribe from myself.)
I don’t have a date for Baby’s First Steps because the journey to bipedalism has been a whirlwind of half crawling, peg legging (his preferred method was crawling on his right knee while walking on his left foot & yes, the doctor says that’s completely fine) pulling to stand on absolutely everything, cruising along furniture, taking a few tentative steps then lowering back down, and now, finally, walking all over the house
The same goes for rolling. One of my friend’s babies rolled from back to front at five weeks and then not again for a couple months. So does that mean she can roll? Who cares! First words are much the same. If baby gets out “Mama” one time, but then goes back to shrieks and incoherent babbles for a few days, does “Mama” count as his first word? Especially if he said it to a wall or a toy and not me?
Don’t get me started on the guilt I have that my child can walk at what is considered an advanced age. I know a ton of people who had babies a few months before him, and their kids aren’t walking yet. I have to remind myself that this all means absolutely nothing. He’s been a very physical kid from the start, and we had people telling us for months, “Watch out for this one! He’s just gonna take off one day!” If he ever gets a sibling, I know I’ll have to do some serious inner work to not compare the two and the timing of all their firsts.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from being in a gaggle of women who birthed during the pandemic– which is still going on, by the way! And pregnant women who choose not to get vaccinated are dying of COVID! So GET THE VACCINE– is that absolutely every baby is different, they do stuff at different times, and it absolutely does not matter. It’s not a reflection on you as a parent, it doesn’t mean your baby is destined for greatness or failure, it’s literally just a small, new person developing life skills that will all even out later on.