Getting Real With Veronica Ibarra

Having been a psychology major in college, I took a class on child development. The textbook begins with fetal development and goes on from there. When I became pregnant with my first child that was the first book I turned to as it was already on hand. I bought a few other books, consulted with other mothers, and of course always paid close attention to my pediatrician’s comments as my daughter grew.

Things were going well. She was well within the range of average for most milestones, and anything she was ahead on or behind on evened out in the long run. Even now at age 7 I have no way of telling if she is destined for anything other than an average life. I mean, let’s face it, I have hopes and dreams for her, but she will be what she makes herself into. I am merely a guide and comforter on her journey, not the deciding factor.

It was easier to be laid back and not anxious with my daughter’s development. I had nothing to compare it to, and anything I heard or read only confirmed that she was a normal, healthy developing child. To be quite honest, that was my primary concern from the beginning. I am very glad that she continues to show all signs of being a normal, healthy developing child. May it always be so.

However, with my second pregnancy the laid back, anxious-free attitude I had began to slip. Suddenly, because I had something more personal to compare it to, I noticed all the differences. Once I discovered I was having a boy, I tried to believe that perhaps that was the reason, but that didn’t work for everything. As he has been developing it has been a struggle to keep things in perspective.

He is well within average developmental range just like his sister, but he’s doing everything differently. I find myself wondering often if it is because he’s a boy or if it is because he’s himself. The answer is most likely a little of both. Everything I’ve read and heard supports that assumption. Again, may it always be so.

I want my children to be themselves. I want to support and encourage their growth, and allow them to develop at their own pace. They are separate and individual. Their differences are more than gender and age. I need to remember this. Comparing them too much will only cause me more anxiety, which could result in my missing out on seeing them as the wonderful individuals that they are growing into. I don’t want to miss out.

As mothers we all worry to some degree or another about our children, about the job we are doing raising them, and those milestones can sometimes seem like a pass/fail moment. I’m not saying they should be ignored, but in many cases they should be seen as guideposts. There is a range of developmental time for children to grasp a concept or demonstrate a skill. Getting it is more important than when they get it since most tend to within the average range, and being average isn’t so bad.