Forgetting about the milestones and enjoying the journey

Yesterday I read this blog post and it really resonated with me. When you become a parent, it’s just the herald of a lifetime of worrying and paranoia.

Is my child developing at the right rate?

Why can’t he get up on his hands and knees yet?

Why is he so sensitive about everything?

Why doesn’t he like being around other babies?

Why did he refuse to eat breakfast this morning?

Why doesn’t he like looking in a mirror?

I’ve asked myself (and Google) these, and countless other questions, over the six and a half months of Finn’s life, and just when it seems that things are on an even keel, some other new ‘problem’ crops up, and I wonder whether this parenting thing is ever going to get any easier.

And the truth is, it probably won’t. Here I am, waiting impatiently for him to reach the next milestone, but each new thing he can do takes him further away from me. In no time at all, I’ll be worrying about leaving him alone for a second lest he start climbing the TV cabinet or the bookcase or crawling onto Jedi’s bed. Next I’ll worry about how he’ll cope at school, and then I’ll wonder what I’ve done wrong when he hits puberty and decides I’m the enemy.

That blog post made me stop and count my blessings.

A baby that doesn’t go anywhere while I make a cup of tea is not such a bad thing.

I don’t love getting up at 5.30 am, but those precious moments of cuddling a warm, sleepy baby and kissing the top of his downy head in a quiet house, just the two of us, are moments I’ll never get back.

His clinginess when we’re out in public can be annoying, but it won’t be that long before he’s asking me not to kiss him goodbye in front of his friends when I drop him off at school.

The days when just about everything seems to make him cry are interminable, but then he’ll give me a smile that takes my breath away and lights up the whole world.

Seeing how much he loves George and the joy the two bring to each other makes all the difficult days worthwhile.

So I’m slowing down, and I’m enjoying each step of his development, even if it doesn’t necessarily correlate with what the books say he should be doing right now. These milestones will have no effect on his future success, and they certainly won’t change how I feel about him. Above all, I don’t want to wish his life away, because one day soon I’ll lament that he no longer thinks my yawns are the funniest thing in the world.

When he’s at high school, or university, or starting his career, no one will remember that he didn’t crawl, or walk, or talk until he was X months old. This first six months of challenges will be long buried under those that follow, but the rewards will far outweigh them, just as they do today.

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