With the first child, practically weekly we would check the appropriate milestones for her age, delighting when she exceeded them ("Look! Her eyes are following us round the room and she's only three days old! This website says she's not supposed to do that until at least a month! She's clearly a genius!"), and fretting when they were missed ("She's nine months old and still hasn't clapped yet. I've taken her to literally 12 hours of music lessons. Do you think we should see a doctor? If she does have learning difficulties, surely it's better to get help sooner rather than later.").
At literally day 4 - our first day home from hospital - I suddenly had a panic that we weren't stimulating her enough during her (brief) moments of wakefulness. I insisted TheBloke (TM) printed out a whole load of swirly black and white patterns and adorned her Moses basket with them, so she wouldn't be bored whilst she was awake. If someone else told me they had that worry about their 4-day old baby - that it wasn't being stimulated enough - I would have thought they were completely bonkers.
This time round, I haven't yet had time to check the baby's milestones. However, I did read today that apparently she should be saying "Ma-ma" and "Da-da" in appropriate situations. Our baby does not say that. She has one word: "cat". She says this at the cat. She also says it at her sister, her father, me, and any random inanimate object she quite likes the look of. "Ca. Ca. Ca." All fricking day. So I checked the developmental milestones, and they don't provide any help on your child's excessive cat-mentioning at all. She also likes to chase the cat around the room (she crawls! Not sure what age they're supposed to do that, but she's doing it!) and ideally get a big old fistful of his tail fur or his face whiskers. If she succeeds in pulling any fur out, she eats it.
This is not mentioned as an important milestone in my monthly Bounty emails either.
Just like her sister, she is a late clapper. This time round I can blame myself as I have taken her to exactly 0 classes. By her age, her elder sister had been to:
- Baby swimming
- Baby music
- Baby sensory
- Regular stay-and-play at the Breastfeeding Cafe
- Soft play
- Socialised with other babies of the same age from my NCT group.
Second baby has been:
- Stuck in the baby corner of the stay-and-play whilst older sister does fun activity
- Left in the buggy whilst her sister charges around soft play
- Ignored in a high chair whilst older sister has little friends round. Sometimes they squeeze her a bit too hard. I like to think she's grateful for the attention.
Anyway, she's 10 months old today, and I'm very much now of the parenting school, "Everyone fed, nobody dead".
I'm thinking of writing a baby manual with that title. Though sometimes I forget to feed them too. Shh.