From the moment we conceive,
there are expectations and standards,
applied to our children.
Anything outside the norm is noted.
“Your baby is small for dates”.
“Your baby is big for dates”.
Even during labor,
our baby is expected to be born,
within a certain time frame.
Some hospitals have very strict guidelines on this,
And for many,
their first taste of failure as a mum is,
“failure” to progress,
“failure to deliver naturally,
“failure” to go into labor at all!
No parent is happy to fail.
We are even less prepared to see our child fail.
Regardless of how “average” we are,
Every parent would like their child,
to be “exceptional”.
Especially first children.
(we live and learn!).
So the comparisons begin.
As we travel through our babies first year,
we are ever conscious of the milestones our baby should meet.
Is your baby smiling?
“Oh dear, shes 5 weeks,
and no smile,
maybe shes a grumpy baby!”
Is she sitting up yet?
Nope! Not even nearly.
Then the real comparisons hot up.
Is she standing?
Dear God! Shes only just safely sitting,
after weeks of topping over!
And the equivalent of Olympic gold to a parent.
Is she the youngest of your friends kids to walk?
No! You cant believe it
your husbands back is broken,
trying to make her walk for hours at a time
and she is still a wobbler!
Then we move on to speech.
Some children learn very quickly.
You know the ones.
Their parents are so proud.
We all have to listen,
to them singing,
endless songs and nursery rhymes,
whilst our (obviously slow) child,
smiles happily and claps.
Its time to go to school.
Parents just cant help themselves telling you,
“He writes so well”.
Yikes! You thought all kids essays,
were as badly written as your childs.
“We’re sending him to art classes,
You usually say to your child,
“I love it”,
but have no idea what “it” is!
“She is very popular in school,
loads of friends”.
Oh no. Your little boy could spend hours happily playing alone!
Then just when you thought you could worry no more.
All the moms seem to be whizzing around,
going to “after school activities”.
Football, soccer, basketball, hurling.
Ball sports you didn’t even know existed.
Ballet, drama, dance.
Now your really up against it.
Your child would rather do anything in the world,
than play with a ball.
If your the mum or dad of a boy,
this is a major blow.
Sometimes it takes many years,
for parents to accept this particular “cross”.
Fathers in particular struggle here.
How many reading this,
can look back and honestly realize,
their childs strength did not lie in sport.
They were good.
They enjoyed participating.
But only occasionally,
did they set themselves apart.
They never really reached the dizzy heights you dreamed of!
Everywhere we look,
other peoples children seem to be outclassing our own.
In time with the benefit of hindsight,
we can look at our own children s development,
during these years.
We can see,
that from the very beginning,
they were “themselves”.
With their own inbuilt wiring.
Sporty, academic, sociable, creative.
Some showed real promise in the early days.
First to walk, sit up, talk,
others achieved at their own pace.
However by the time all these children are teenagers,
things can look very different.
Many parents of these “exceptional” babies,
it was the extra hours,
put into them,
that gave them a head start.
Now all those “slow” babies have grown up.
They can all smile, sit up and walk.
Their education is to a reasonable standard,
and they have friends.
Time will tell who is truly gifted.
The vast majority will be average.
And for me “average” is Great!
After I had my first baby,
I bowed out of the achievement category.
I watched my second child,
as he sat on the floor,
watching the other toddlers run past him.
He was in no rush to join them.
I had unknowingly entered a new category.
As long as my child was the happiest.
He was a winner!