“Can your child speak 20 words yet?”
“Can she pick up her toys?”
“Can she diffuse a bomb while going 100 mph down the highway in oncoming traffic?”
“Has she written a symphony yet?”
“No? Well, we better start thinking about therapy.”
That is what goes through my mind when I take my kids to the pediatrician. The milestones kids are supposed to hit by a certain age these days are ridiculous. Every child develops on their own, so why force it? Why make the parents question their parenting, when there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it? In my opinion it further contributes to the depression and anxiety mothers suffer in today’s age.
When I left the room after the 18 month checkup was done, I saw my kids’ pediatrician on the phone and thought to myself Is he calling CPS on me? He was worried that my toddler was speaking much yet. I wasn’t, because my oldest was a late talker as well, and now doesn’t ever stop talking. (Like ever.) But as I left the Dr’s office, I started paying more attention to my toddler’s speech. It’s been almost 2 months, and I still am quietly obsessing over how much she speaks and understands. She understand just fine, she just doesn’t talk much. But last night I was laying in bed and decided I will make a list of the words she says and understands, so that I can keep track of it.
This is ridiculous. I didn’t worry like this with my oldest. Nobody made me feel like an inadequate parent because she didn’t say X amount of words by age Y. This needs to stop. It’s not healthy for anyone. Words like autism are being tossed around, when a child is merely developing on their own terms and speed. (Not that autism is “bad” thing, but it’s not something that should be diagnosed lightly, as in “I’m concerned because he’s only saying 19 words instead of the 20 that are required.”)
Where will it end? Will doctors start evaluating milestones before birth? “Your child doesn’t know sign language yet, you will be a horrible parent.”
It’s insanity to put this much pressure on parents. Let the kids be kids for crying out loud, and don’t make parents feel bad because their kids aren’t little geniuses.