Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Mommy fears

Every so often (read: at least once a week) I get into a panic over something related to Ella. Usually it's not the big type of stuff that all parents fear. I'm pretty good at talking myself down off the ledge for the big stuff. Rather, it's all the little developmental milestones that can send me from sane mommy zone into "Why the heck am I not at the pediatrician demanding testing RIGHT NOW" zone.

See, here is the simultaneous blessing and curse of having friends with children the same age as Ella. We can be chatting about stuff the kids are doing, and a seemingly-innocent question like, "How many words does Ella say?" can make me question everything from my child's abilities to my own parenting practices.

This bothered me so much that when Jim and I went on a rare date, we spent a significant portion of time cataloging every word she has ever uttered (and yes, for the record, her speech development seems to be fine. She is extremely selective about when she wants to talk, but there is no doubt she can. If she feels like it).

Then once I've calmed down from that incident, another mommy friend will show me a picture of her daughter cuddling with a baby doll, and tell me about how her daughter likes to rock her dolly. My first thought should be, "Oh, isn't that cute!" Instead, I smile and mutter something while thinking, "Ella only pokes her doll in the eye. Or throws it. Why doesn't she pretend to feed it or something? What is wrong with my child?!"

The answer is, chances are there is not a single thing wrong with her. In fact, in my only-slightly biased opinion, I think she is very bright. I need to be better about focusing on all the things she does do, instead of worrying about everything she does not. I need to be better about doing things that are in line with her current interests instead of trying to make her do what I think she should be doing.

I know there is always going to be something new to worry about. I know before I can blink, I will be worried about SAT scores and colleges and then her first real job. And because of that, I need to learn how to be fearless. Or at least how to put on a good act.

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