You may recall a few months ago I wrote a blog post asking if my baby was slow, I’d got carried away in the perfect world of social media and marketing emails. Marketing emails like the one below, telling me what my child is doing now, all just assuming that at this age they must be walking, talking, etc. Parents proudly sharing their babies first steps and conversations, and rightly so, I have absolutely nothing against parents sharing these things, I will myself, but I couldn’t help watch them and wonder if my baby was slow.
“Your toddler’s mobility has increased dramatically over the last few months; now she can walk unaided and can probably squat down to examine something on the floor and then stand back up again and move on without any help.” :-Email from Emma’s Dairy.
Almost two months have passed since I wrote the original blog post and Aria still isn’t walking, she will be seventeen months old in three days. Even though Aria still isn’t walking we have ticked off a few milestones since I published that post. She now pulls herself up on furniture, she can get up the first stair (then cry because she’s stuck), today we bought her first shoes, her feet are finally big enough and she has quite a few teeth. A lot of these milestones are achieved by other babies at a much younger baby, some even under twelve months, but that is fine. She is doing things in her own time.
We recently attended parents evening at Aria’s private nursery and found out that despite Aria not hitting the traditional milestones she is actually quite far advanced in some other areas. We were too busy concentrating on what she wasn’t doing to even realise. We had just assumed these other things were being done by all children her age, we aren’t seeing these things shared on social media, possibly because they are small things that people take for granted, or maybe because other children aren’t yet hitting those milestones.
Some of the things that nursery are impressed with is her ability to stack blocks into quite a tall tower, she grips objects that are placed in her hand, she can play hide and seek with toys and she is wary of new people.
I know that she does all of this and didn’t think much of it, but Aria’s key worker explained that being able to stack two blocks at her age is good, five is excellent and Aria is stacking more than five. A lot of children her age will just drop an item that is placed in their hand, whereas Aria scrunches her hand up to hold it and examines it. They partially cover toys with a tea towel and Aria finds them, a lot of children her age won’t. She knows who she knows and is happy around them, she is very wary of new people, both teachers and children, and will sit back and quietly observe them for a while before approaching them. She has been doing all of the above for quite some time now but we hadn’t realised that they were exceptional milestones.
We also learnt that Aria is an absolute pleasure to teach, they really love having her there because she is so pleasant, hardly ever cries and is very affectionate. We’re always proud of our little girl but we came away feeling extremely proud.
Aria’s key worker told us not to worry about the fact that she isn’t yet walking, it is completely normal, in fact they’ve had children as old as two who aren’t yet walking. She is right, we really shouldn’t worry, I mean it isn’t like Aria is going to be twenty years old and still bum shuffling around the place! The problem is, that while we may not worry others will. People will receive these marketing emails informing them of what their child is doing and panic because, actually, no, their child isn’t doing that yet.
I really think that these companies need to stop telling us what our child is doing and maybe instead tell us what our child may be doing, and that we needn’t worry if they aren’t. Emma’s Diary aren’t the only ones doing this, I’ve had similar emails from a few other firms including Cow & Gate recently and a fair few others, this is just the one that happened to arrive and prompt this blog post.
Please marketing companies, stop making us think that our children are behind.