Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Bar

Lately I've been struggling.
Partially due to social media.
Partially due to the way my brain works and how I over analyze everything.

When we were trying to conceive I was bitter- pregnancies were being announced left and right.
When I finally got pregnant there was a constant fear of having a miscarriage- I was reading it everywhere.
When she was born there was a paranoia of childhood cancer- stories were always popping up.
When I fed her formula there was judgement and justification and the appearance of not being a "good mom".

And lately, I've been struggling with the bar.
Not the bar that is set to where she "should be".
 The bar that is set to where "other" kids are at, in the social media world I'm surrounded in, therefore  that is where she "should be".

Facebook is great.
Blogs are wonderful.
I am so thankful that I have milestones documented.
From trying to conceive to pregnancy to 8 months old {where I slacked off big time and I'm now disappointed that I didn't keep up!}.
Because of the simplicity and awesomeness of blogs they'e now become a virtual baby book-a place to post every.thing your child is doing for everyone to see.
But, they are often times hard for me to read.
Sometimes it's because it stirs discontentment in my life.
Sometimes it's because the grass is greener.
Sometimes it's because it's too much for me to handle and it feeds a fear that is not from the Lord.
And sometimes, like in this season of my life, it creates an unwanted, unneccessary comparison of my child to another child.

Some are talking.
Some are signing.
Some are potty trained.
Some know their alphabet.
Some know their states.

Some know their shapes.
Some know their colors.
Some know their countries.
Some can read.
Some can write.

Those things are great.
Really, they are.
And, of course, I would be proud if it was my child, too.

But what I find happening is that I become frustrated or concerned when Adalyn isn't doing x, y and z.
I get angry when she throws her flashcards instead of pointing out the animal and the letter.
I get irritated when she puts all the colored stars onto the page instead of choosing one and matching correctly.
I lose my patience when she purposely presses the wrong button on an educational ipad game because she likes the sound that it makes when it's the incorrect answer.

And what I seem to be forgetting is that Adalyn is made in the image of God.
She was perfectly and uniquely knit together in my womb by our awesome Creator.
He made her exactly who she is.
And I need to- more than accept- I need to embrace where she is at today.
Right now.

To think that at least she is almost potty-trained and can say and whine and scream and repeat 1,000 times a day Mama.
To think at least she's got that going for her....
It's wrong and it's ridiculous.

She is loved.
She is loving.
She brings us so much joy.
She is sweet.
She is caring.
She is silly.
She is observant.
She has the craziest bedhead.
She loves to give hugs and kisses.
She loves to praise Jesus.
She has an expressive face.
She loves to read books.
She loves to dance.
She loves to laugh.
She loves animals.
She loves to play outside.
She loves to get the mail.
She loves to eat.
She loves her giraffe, blankie and paci.
She loves to say "hi".
She loves to help me sweep.
She loves her car and her wagon.
She loves to swing.
She loves Curious George.
She is obsessed with babies.

The list could go on and on about how great she is and how much I love her.

It's not fair to her for me to be comparing her to "the bar."

Before Adalyn's 18 month check up, I was telling Mr. B how they were going to see how smart she is- what body parts she knows, how many words can she say etc. We estimated how many words we thought she was able to say and that night I went to bed worried.
What if it wasn't enough?
I feel like she is a little delayed.
Her speech isn't very clear, but I can usually decipher what she's trying to say.
So I made a list and I decided it would be more accurate to say she can say/uses 25-30+ words a day.

I get to her appointment and guess what?
The doctor asks me if she is pointing to things.
She asks if is able to demonstrates things that she wants.
If she can follow simple directions.
She never asked about the number of words.
She didn't care about states or countries.
Alphabet or numbers.
Colors or shapes.

And you know what else?
The paper the Dr. gives at the end of the appointment, under the "What I Can Do Now" section, said: speak 8-10 words.
The bar- the social media childhood development bar- is too high.

Adalyn's appointment was perfect.
And it wasn't because she knew or didn't know.
It was because she was healthy, happy and growing.

The things that other kids can do are awesome.
I believe some kids thrive more in certain areas than others.
It's just how God wired them.
But I forget that some days.
It's important for me to remember that she is only 18 months.
The bar tends to be getting set higher and higher and it's so easy to push aside that fact that although she's not really a baby anymore...she is just a baby.
She's not even 2.
I need to let her be.
She's my sweet girl, a child of God, who will learn all these other things in time.
Right now- what she really needs to know- is that she's loved.
And she does.
                                                               And that's what matters most.


Ashley said...

I think children develop differently, where she may not be doing one thing, she is probably excelling in other things! I think a lot of people don't blog about what's not happening, yet brag about what is. Adalyn is beautiful, happy and thriving. Yes, keep working with her, let her have fun with the activities - even if its in her own way! You are doing a great job.

Mallorie said...

aww I love this post :-)

Cuz I'm the mama! said...

I was extremely caught up in this at one point too. We have twins and so it was CONSTANT comparison. I had to take a blogging and SM break. Just step away to really see and embrace all the stuff they were doing. At 18 months (in my opinion) she looks to be THRIVING. She is so happy - oh that smile! I know, though, as a first time mom ... we just want everything to be on track. Looking back now ... I was way too hard on myself and I hope that gives you a little peace of mind. Our twins are now in preschool and the comparing doesn't stop. WE have to stop it before it takes over our minds. You are doing an amazing job with her and she is right on pace for where God wants her to be.

Mrs. C. said...

Wow, what a moving post. Your daughter is just beautiful:)

Sarah C. said...

Love this post! I totally get sucked into comparing and worrying that my little boy is behind etc... it's so poisonous and joy-robbing! I constantly have to remind myself to let him be HIM and to enjoy him exactly where he's at. Adalyn looks like she is full of life and joy, exactly what a toddler should be :)

Anna & Kirby said...

So perfectly said! I feel your frustration and anxiety...and the love for your daughter too. I feel the same way. Love blogging, love reading blogs... But I know it stresses me out way more than I need to be. I'm so happy the doctor confirmed the social media bar is too high. My husband told me that a few monts ago when I was going crazy comparing our son to others...but who wants to listen to their husbands ;)

Lindsay said...

This made me tear up. I found your blog through "Happy Home" and this post is literally exactly what I have been struggling with. My daughter is almost 9 months old, and I worry all the time about that "bar". And it's so silly, because she is such a sweet baby and I love her dearly and that's what matters most. Adalyn is so beautiful and you are so blessed!!

Anna Baughman said...

This is why I hate social media. 9 times out of 10 people's lives look so much better than they really are through social media. I learned very early on to not compare Wes to other kids. It's stupid because even if a child the same age as Wes is talking in full sentences it doesn't matter! Every child is different and every child will progress at different time periods. It doesn't mean anything for their future. My advice....put away the flash-cards and stop worrying! :) Adalyn is perfect and she always will be! Besides--I guarantee you that being around Wes for the weekend will make you feel much better about Adalyn hehe!

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Emily said...

I love this post! I love your perspective; so much emphasis is put on children's development today. Your daughter appears to be so happy and your love for her is so obvious. :-)

Gold For Runescape said...

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