The Don't Beat Yourself Up Guide To Milestones

This vintage post was first published in May 2015...

This week was my son's 27th month check up with the health visitor. And we got the usual odd checklist of things to see what he can and can't do. If you have never seen it is is a list of strange tasks which are supposed to see how well your child is developing. For example can they jump (yes), can they jump forward (mmm no unless pushed by his sister), can they draw in a straight line (no but he once drew all over the coffee table), can they put macaroni on a piece of string (I HAVE NO IDEA AS I HAVE NEVER DONE THAT WITH HIM) and so on.

First time round? I worried about this with my girl. She was bright as a button that one. She could speak really well, she could put her coat on but...she couldn't jump. Literally not even vaguely. She would pretend that she could jump and even that was crap. We practised all the time. As if her not jumping in this check up would mean I was a dreadful parent. And the big day came (it was also at the same time as my son's month check up NO PRESSURE THEN). And she couldn't jump...but also? She wouldn't speak. She refused to draw. She threw bricks at the health visitor. She would not take her clothes off to be weighed. And? Screamed blue murder solidly for one whole hour. F*ck.

I am in no way shape or form training my son to build blocks

But what I took from this was the following. The check up. Doesn't really mean that much. It wasn't a good representation of my girl at that time. In fact she looked like she was never destined to do great things. If not jumping is the basis of great things. As a teacher, over the years I have learnt that children all have different skill sets. They are all meant for different things. They may not be great at reading and writing but when it comes to social skills, which would be great for working with the elderly or kids. They rock!

From the day you have your baby you could spend your time continuously comparing your little one. Whether it be reading books that tell you where your child should be at, or discussing with other Mums who can crawl and can't crawl (so annoying). Your Mum may tell you stories about you being potty trained dead early. It's all b*llocks. All that matters is what your child is doing in relation to them. My girl did not walk till 18 months but knew all of her colours. My son walked a bit earlier but if you ask him what colour an orange is right now. He will say blue. Every time. Bar when he says it's green.

I do think appointments with the Health Visitor in this first few months after giving birth are important (and yeah yeah I know, a smidge annoying). So you can ask all the daft questions you need to ask (after you have googled it and convinced yourself you child is seriously ill*). And they are there to pick up on anything important. But milestones are things that will happen eventually. And if you are really worried? I would pop to the Doctor who will calm you down or refer you on.

So my boy cannot draw in a straight line but at 27 months my glorious creature can do the following: stand on the plastic Elmo kitchen to change the channel on the TV and scare me half to death, sing the full Annie soundtrack in different comedy voices, wind his sister up so much by screaming very loudly in her face, do an excellent impression of his Grandad Rog and he's a mastermind at hide and seek (OK so he hides in his bed every time but it's proper funny). He may spend his whole life not being able to string macaroni on a piece of string but to me? He's ruddy perfect.


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