Milestones and Down Syndrome, something nearly every parent on this path Googles.
Once parents use the almighty Google, Milestones and Down Syndrome should be listed right next to the verb, patience.
These milestones are a concept I never gave much thought to with my typical kiddos. I mean, in a vague sense I knew about when they would start to babble, sit, crawl and walk, but I wasn’t hyper sensitive to it. When one of my children didn’t walk until she was 14 months old, I didn’t worry, I just knew it would come eventually. When one of my children didn’t talk much until almost 2, again, no worries I knew it would be fine.
But then…then, my Cedar was born. We had a birth diagnosis with our 6th child and its almost like I forgot everything I knew about parenting. I know that may sound silly but instead of rolling with it and not being concerned, I found myself hyper-focused on meeting milestones.
I began Googling to remember when he should smile, I began worrying when he stared off in space, I began concerning myself with his way laid back personality thinking, this kid will never move. I started trying to find anything I could get my hands on that provided information on physical exercises we could do at home to help promote muscle tone. In a nutshell, I began driving myself mad.
However, during all of this, my son just slowly started smiling at me. Then he started holding my gaze for longer and longer periods of time. He started cooing. While I was Googling and researching he began crossing his midline with his hands, I almost missed it.
It wasn’t until one physical therapist pointed out an area that my son was doing really, really well in that I remembered something. I remembered that with all of my other children, they would often pour every ounce of their little being into perfecting a skill before moving to the next skill (or milestone). If it was scooting then I remember that my children were not also shooting ahead in their verbal skills. If it was rolling then they were not also using fine motor coordination.
I began to remember something profound, hitting one milestone at a time is totally normal. Relishing in a newly acquired skill before moving to the next was something that each of my other typical children had done and I had never worried about them. I hit the baby books of my other kids and made a note that their perfecting a milestone, such as sitting, was so varied that its hard to believe they all came from the same parents. Silly as it sounds, this made me feel so much better and it also helped me to relax a bit.
I began backing off of my hyper focus and celebrating the small things that I would see my little man doing. I began taking my time with our exercises and letting it be more about the experience and less about mastery. When I did this I realized that my joy started to return a bit, my adoration of the baby stages and how quickly they do pass came back.
It is now that I have begun to think of milestones differently, I now think of them as a loose guide and I have begun to relax and enjoy the moment. Having a developmental disability may just mean that instead of pushing to move through each stage at warp speed, I have the luxury of enjoying the stages for a bit longer.
Afterall, it isn’t long until they stop chewing on and sucking those cute little toes, blowing raspberries, or even sitting still instead of crawling throughout the house. If there is one thing my tour guide is teaching me it is that I shouldn’t feel the need to rush into the next phase, I’ll just enjoy the scenic route, milestones and all.
Like this post? Be sure to check out “I’m so proud” a word about our children