Repeat after me: Every Kid Is Different.
This friendly yet annoying phrase is repeated on Baby Center when you read the weekly age post on your child’s development.
There is this constant struggle as a parent to make sure your kid is making their milestones. We all know that each kid is different but when I see a child walking months before Lily, I find myself asking, “What am I doing wrong?”
And the answer is nothing. I have been doing a lot of reading and when it comes to walking you shouldn’t force your child to do it. It will come. This is where being patient becomes a virtue. I have to keep telling myself that Lily will stop crawling and will walk one day. She will begin to talk one day. Be patient.
On top of worrying over milestones I beat myself up all the time that I am not doing enough engaging activities that help her develop fine motor skills or language and cognitive skills. It’s that dang parental guilt. Just when I start to relax, that guilt creeps back in and makes me doubt my parenting. Mike is very supportive and reminds me that I’m crazy (in a good way!) and that we are doing great as first time parents. My girlfriends make me feel normal when they agree that it’s challenging to find new activities for our kids.
So recently I enrolled Lily in MyGym along with her buddies Brady, son to Emily Ley, and Beckett, son to McKay Pittman of Oatmeal Lace Designs. At 14 months old all Lily wants to do is climb, jump, and explore and MyGym lets her do just that. Watching her light up as she jumps in the ball pit with other kids is priceless. She is learning to roll while building strength in her tiny little body. Being around other kids is building social skills…we are still learning on being gentle. I know it costs money, but it’s worth every penny when I see her attempting to roll at home after learning it at MyGym.
Along with joining MyGym I made easy DIY sensory boards for Lily. She is still at the age of putting objects in her mouth so I used a hot glue gun to secure the objects. To keep it cheap I used items on hand like fuzzy Christmas puffs, soft wiry pipe cleaners, shiny gold beads, a squishy flower sponge, gentle felt fabric, a big bath loofah, and several buttons. I started by introducing one plate at a time and of course she put each plate to her lips. I would take her hand and rub the objects explaining them to her.
In a matter of minutes she was over it and moved on to her books (can’t complain that she likes those!). I felt a little defeated. An hour later I was showing Mike something when I realized she walked (YES she is taking her first steps!!) over to the ottoman and started to run her little fingers over a few of the objects. Feelings of glee swept over and I wanted to cry I was so happy! To change it up I would take the plates and rub or bang the objects together. The beads and buttons make loud clapping sounds, where the loofah and sponge are quiet. Lily loves to replicate the noises and show off her new trick! Watching your child repeat something you taught them is a marvelous feeling. Hopefully these cheap sensory boards can help Lily grow and learn new objects and words.
So take THAT parental guilt!! Tomorrow I will be patient and go over the boards with her again. Maybe she will want to play with them, maybe she won’t even look at them. Either way we are going to have fun tomorrow. As long as I see that adorable smile that parental guilt will be pushed to the back of my mind.