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Milestones

Friday, November 30, 2007

Milestone – a milestone/kilometre sign is one of a series of numbered markers placed along a road at regular intervals, typically at the side of the road  or in a median.  But for new parents with a newly acquired dictionary of baby terms, a milestone can be a HUGE source of pride, joy, stress, jealousy, competitiveness, pressure….. – all you parents out there will know what I’m talking about.  And for those who don’t, a milestone in “baby terms” serves as a sort of marker for parents and doctors to assess whether a baby is developing at the right pace – whether it be physical, emotional, behaviour, learning.

It’s amazing how ALL parents have the same questions to compare and contrast how their children are developing. 

  • does your baby sleep through the night [the all-time favourite]
  • is she drinking from a sippy cup yet
  • has she rolled over yet
  • has she taken her first step
  • does she have a tooth yet
  • can she say anything
  • is she crawling yet 

The questions go on.  Guilty as charged – I’ve been there, done that.  A selfish act – that can only serve to make the other parent stressed if their child has not reached that milestone – and make oneself proud of his/her own child’s development.  I used to be a little obsessed when Divya was much younger – almost waiting, watching and listening for her first smile, coo, turn-over…..  But I find as time goes on, I’ve become more comfortable and almost know when to expect the next “jump” from Divya.  She seems to be the “punctual” type of baby – turns over, sits up, crawls, walks, talks (ok maybe babble – oooohhhh being her favourite) at the expected age.  I think it’s ok to compare or to “check” – at least you have an idea whether your little one is on track or whether something needs to be done to help her/him along.  I guess the key is just not to get obsessive (cartwheels at 3 months old may just be too early for some!!!)

Here’s a bit of an update for friends and family who have been asking how Divya is and what she is up to (what I can remember off-hand anyway).  She

  • has 6 ½ teeth that are visible
  • has longish hair – she was born with long hair so it’s just longer now (she has a regular barber she sees – her Appu who has an assistant, her Amma)
  • has mastered her “pincer grasp” – that is, picking something up with her thumb and forefinger – I must take credit for this development as it was me who left those pieces of dust there on purpose 😉
  • walks now – and does that run-stumble thing
  • has mastered how to use her couch in her play-pen/yard to climb out (unfortunately!)
  • can sleep through the night (8pm – 8am and now sometimes later in the morning – the combination of the dark outside and the heater in the house must be really cosy)
  • eats whatever we eat – her favourite meals being anything with curry in it
  • is really good at climbing anything however high – bed, couch…. (must be her Appu’s rock-climbing genes)
  • has mastered my laugh [and I must say it’s a mastery because it is not easy to reproduce that divine sound ;)]
  • can say bye-bye, ball, pal (which is milk in tamil), mum-mum for food, Amma for me – she used to say other things like “hillo” for “hello”, “gog” for “dog”, “ola” (Spanish).  Sometimes we hear her say other words, even complex ones, but she never repeats them, so we never know if it was our imagination.  And her favourite is ooohhh – she always seems to be in awe with the mysteries of the world – even coming out of her bedroom after a nap is an adventure for her – she looks around the house like everthing is new “oooohhhh”
  • can do the signs (from the sign-language DVD) for all done/finished, crackers, more
  • has grabbed my handphone many times, but just said “hello” into it today for the first time – very seriously
  • can dance – her unique move is putting one hand above her head and doing her waddle dance.  Although, her Appu is closely monitoring her dance moves – only cute ones are allowed and the only approved dance partner is her Uncle Chris hehe
  • can turn the pages of her books and stare at the pictures for a long time – but as soon as I take one of her books to read to her, she runs away
  • can win a staring match with her Ammamma (my mum) on the webcam on MSN Messenger [yes, Divya is a regular on Messenger]
  • loves wearing hats now

There are just too many more little facts that don’t come to mind now.  Children are so different in the way and how fast they develop – no two children are exactly the same.  But each and every one of them is a little unique gift.   

I wonder whether people realise that the journey of life, passing these milestones along the way, is a never-ending one.  First it’s all the baby milestones, then :

  • what school is your child in
  • what grades did your child get
  • is your child going to a university
  • what job is your child in
  • how much does your child make $$$ (this from the kaypoh old people)
  • is your child getting married
  • does your child have a child 

And before you know it, your child’s children – that is, your grandchildren’s milestones become part of your life too.  There are just too many “milestones” to keep track of and get stressed about – so why not celebrate the little steps our angels take, and DON’T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF.

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