Saturday, December 15, 2007

All She Got for Christmas Is

All she wants for Christmas is . . .

Hold it . . .


Actually, two front teeth.


Aren't they cute?

I am just glad she has some so I can finally say yes to all the people that ask. Same reason I'm glad she's now crawling, standing, balancing, and at least attempting new sounds. She has really come a long way in the last month or so, but for a while there I felt like I said "Not yet..." to every question.

It's not the questioners' fault, of course. It's just natural to talk about other/your own kids when you meet someone else's, and they are watching her grow just as we are. And clueless new mamas like me need to know what other kids are up to to have the vaguest idea what ours are "supposed" to be doing. I wouldn't have known Anna's teeth were on the slow side coming in unless I'd been asked a hundred times and heard how little Einstein got his at four months. The thing is, I wouldn't have felt bad about hers being slow either.

There's a sly kind of competition in the comparisons sometimes--even if it's fighting a guilt that's purely self-imposed. Why should I feel bad that my daughter doesn't have teeth? It's not a reflection on me, as if I could do a thing to speed them up. It's not a sign of adoption difficulties or third-world nutrition or being licked by the dog too many times that I should feel defensive about. It's just teeth, and here they came in their own sweet eleventh-month time.

But I let it nag at me sometimes that maybe she's behind. Maybe she's not catching up as fast as she should be. Maybe I should be reading to her more, feeding her more variety, leaving her with others more, taking her out less. Maybe Early Intervention will be needed and they will revoke her status as Ethiopian Adoption Poster Child. And then what does that do to me as Poster Mother? (They just take the T. Make it Poser Mother.)

Every time I start to worry, though, she learns a new trick (or grows a new incisor) to reassure me. Look, I'm standing, I'm crawling, I'm able to leave a path of chaos through the house in a single bound. I'm sippying my cup and I'm hiding my own face to peekaboo you. I'm renewing my interest in the contents of this drawer and the word Mamamamamama. I'll take that step before you know it, and then there's no slowing down.

Really, world, what's the rush?

Moms (and dads), let's hear your thoughts: Do you ever get caught in the comparison trap? Why do you think we do this? Why are we in such a hurry for our kids to get to the next thing, and how can we remember to enjoy them as they are each day?


karen said...

Actually, it's a good thing when your kid's teeth come in later. That just means their baby teeth will fall out later, and generally their adult teeth will be stronger. So.

My kids all did things late too, and with my first i tried to encourage him to move it along faster. By my third, though, i was kind of happy when he didn't walk until almost 15 months. It lets you enjoy babyhood for longer. They grow out of the baby things so fast.

But yeah. The competition is there.

Cat Hoemke said...

I got a bite of this competition angst(?) the other day when we heard there is another couple expecting at the office. In my little back brain, my thoughts were (oh crap! we will never be able to provide for our kid like they will. They will take away our parenting license!) Silly back brain. Not exactly the same, but definitely there.

Push the competition thing back as much as you can. Don't worry unless a doctor tells you that there is something wrong with Anna's development. Because Karen is right, they are only babies for a short amount of time. :)

Enor said...

Competition is only a bad thing to people who can't win no matter what.

Hence, I am not afraid to say that Anna is much more adorable than Ellie. That's right, Beau, I said it. Bring it on.

Does Beau even read this thing? Otherwise that was a waste of a good jab.

If Beau doesn't read this, then I feel that the whole competitive thing is bad.

Anonymous said...

Alas, good ol' American culture isn't always good ie competative comparisons on things that are inherently developmental!
That & good old sinful human nature that wants to better and best @ other! But Anna is totally on track & I'd say will continue you amaze with her progress! After all, a most amazing thing, she's been with you less than 6 months!

Amy said...

Both the Russian dr. and American dr. we saw said to not worry about a thing developmentally until Roman was 3; everything will equalize by then. If it doesn't, THEN you get to worry. Made me feel lots better.

I figure, people who have to compete/brag have issues themselves. And then I feel sorry for them.

Allison said...

Hi Wendy,
I got my teeth late and I've been told that I turned out okay.

RMMcDowell said...

What the crap!?? Beau doesn't read this thing, and I do weeks later! So I innocently check out the comments where I'm going to say something kind about late teeth and late walking (both of which we had) and comparisons and such only to find my daughter being trashed?! Nice. Really nice. You should edit comments, WMW, and keep people like Enor off of it!