Monday, 15 November 2010
For example, at 20 months old, this girl talks a boatload. We already have full conversations without a problem. She tells me exactly what's going on in that little head of hers. She also has the weirdest and biggest vocabulary of any kid her age I've ever met. She already knows words like elephant, lawnmower, and basketball. She even knows mantis, as in praying mantis because her Uncle Mike has a strange "collection" of interesting animals.
She's pretty good at constructing sentences too, such as, "Uh oh, mama. Cereal bowl fall. Pick up!" or "Squirrel! Mama, look! Up there!" or my favorite, "Watch the princess? Watch movies?" She surprises me every day with news words I didn't know she knew.
But it was also reassuring to me to hear that Hannah's approach to food and eating has not been normal. One of the best pieces of advice I got before I became a parent was from one of my old bosses. He told me that just as soon as I felt as if I couldn't take one more minute of a certain stage my child was in, she'd grow out of it.
The primary time I've truly appreciated this advice was when it came to feeding Hannah. When she was a few months younger, this kid would not eat or nurse. I remember sitting down at every meal and just feeling like crying because I did not want to sit there for the next 40 or so minutes force-feeding my daughter. But that's exactly what I did.
And you could argue that you aren't supposed to force-feed a baby, that they know how much they need to eat, but that just wasn't true with Hannah. She dropped from the 40th percentile to less than the 3rd percentile in just a few short months. Even her height was stunted. My doctor finally starting talking about doing various tests on her if she didn't start gaining weight soon.
Thankfully, she soon started feeding herself. I'm so thankful that I now can sit down next to her and eat my own meal while she eats hers. I HATED spoon feeding her, but just as my boss told me, as soon as I couldn't take one more minute of it, she learned to eat by herself.
Still, that's not normal, or so I'm told. Aren't babies supposed to be roly-poly and covered in cute little baby fat rolls? Aren't babies supposed to inhale their fruits and vegetables as if they just can't get enough? But, like I said, my daughter is not normal. I'm proud to share that she is finally gaining some weight. She's still under the 10th percentile for weight, but we're making progress.
Still, I'm learning more and more that maybe there is no normal. Every kid is so different. What's normal for some might not be normal for others. And that's really okay. I used to worry because Hannah didn't sit up on her own until well after six months, she didn't start her army crawl until 8 months, she didn't crawl "normally" until 12 months, and she didn't walk until almost 16 months. But now she can run and climb and play just as well as any other kid her age.
It was so pointless to worry. I need to learn to stop comparing her to other kids, because honestly, what's "normal" anyway?
How about you, mamas? When did you finally learn that what's "normal" for your kid might not be the textbook idea of normal?