My close girlfriends and I have a Facebook group where we report on the wonderful accomplishments of our children (right down to cutting the first tooth) on a discussion board. It’s a great way of sharing these memories and interesting to see how each child is developing. There certainly is no contest between us girls, but you can sense the nervousness that is emitted when one or several of our children has not met a milestone that others have (among the 10 kids we’ve got 4 babies born within 2 months of each other- some days apart). Those of us who are not first time moms have already lived through the mantra that eventually all of our kids will get there, and it does prove to be true. Yet as much as I have tried not to compare my own two children, very clearly different individuals in their own right, I still find myself doing it…and fretting a little.
Dominic has progressed beyond the toothless smiles, the gurgles, and the ma ma ma and da da da’s of infancy. His major words are mama and dada. He’s got only a few more words under his belt; “hi” and “baba” (bottle) can be added to the list. At 14 months of age, that’s pretty much it for the average day. He tends to shake and nod his head to express his wants/don’t wants. I try to encourage a verbal yes and no response, but at least I know he understands me. Sofia was talking by 8 months and had at least ten words in her vocabulary by the time she was a year old. In addition to yes and no, I must say “ball” to this kid (when he’s holding one) 20 times a day trying to get it out of him, but no dice.
Sofia was fascinated by books from day one. Now at 3 years old she stares intently at each page, naming and counting the objects, and describing every color. When she was first learning to speak we had a book of 100 every day words with pictures. She did not stop reading it until she could point out and name each and every one. That book is now torn apart because Dominic would rather eat it and tear at it than sit down with me and read a book. He has no interest in the pictures, and seems to really, really love the taste of cardboard. I keep trying, but so far to no avail. I also worry that I’m not trying enough. When Sofia was an only child we would sit and read book after book for an hour at a time on a nightly basis. It was easy to do so when it was just us. Adding another child to the mix greatly diminishes the amount of free time we have together in our few short hours before bedtime.
On the flip side, Dominic was sitting up independently by 6 months, crawling by around 8 months, pulling to stand by a year, and walking shortly thereafter. He is now walking 95% of the time, and is very curious about surroundings. Sofia didn’t crawl until just before her first birthday and didn’t walk until almost 18 months. She was much more content to sit and read or play with puzzles and stack blocks. I never had to baby proof a cabinet. She showed absolutely no interest in seeking out that which was not in her immediate grasp. Dominic prefers to seek out and touch, bang, pound on, throw (ouch) and eat anything and everything he can get around his eager little fingers.
I concerned myself so much with Sofia’s stationary activity before she became a walker. I found myself saying to people, “No, she’s not walking yet” with a duck on pond demeanor. Now I’m going through it with Dominic on a different scale. “No, he’s not talking much yet.”
My son is very different from my reflective daughter; so very physical in his exploration of his world. I know that he is doing so well in so many other areas; that his gross and fine motor skills are progressing as they should. I know that he adores his big sister and wants to mimic her every move at play, that he enjoys the company of his parents and is all smiles and squeals of glee when we get home each night, and that his personality and joy of life shines through as his teachers can report nothing short of how very happy he is each day. I know he’s got a lot of stories in there he’s dying to tell me, and he will find his words eventually. I know that there will come a day when I will under my breath, exasperated by the constant bickering of two siblings, wish for a moment of the relative quiet that I’m experiencing now. I know.
But can we get there, already?