Why I Want to Quit Facebook…But Won’t
March 20, 2014 § 7 Comments
This past year it has been so fun watching Evy grow and become a little person of her own. It’s amazing to think that a year ago she would stay put in one place, and now she’s crawling everywhere, climbing on things, eating real food, drinking out of a sippy cup, saying many words, and walking with our support or along furniture. “Wait,” you’re thinking, “did I read that right? She’s still not walking on her own?” Maybe you didn’t think that, but I have definitely thought it a time or two. And this thought is one of the reasons I’ve considered getting rid of my Facebook account. It’s called the Mommy Wars.
I’ve especially noticed that people who have their first children tend to post many of these things on Facebook as a way to brag. And what does this bragging do? It makes others whose children may not have reached those milestones quite yet feel as if their children are somehow inferior. None of this really bothered me until recently, when Evy was still mainly crawling despite many babies a few weeks younger than her who were already walking. Because Evy had been on the earlier end when it came to rolling, teeth, and crawling, I just assumed she’d also be walking early (and my naturally competitive personality definitely hoped so!). But she is not interested in it. Not at all. No, she is cautious. So cautious that she will practically run while holding on with both hands to our hands, but if we let go, she stubbornly decides to sit on the ground.
Mommy wars can include a range of subjects—from why it is “better” for moms to work or stay at home, to whose children are smarter and/or cuter. And they don’t just include moms. Dads and grandparents are not exempt, lest we try to give them a pass. For me, I have noticed that people tend to brag about things that they cannot control. For example, someone’s child gets a tooth early or has more hair or rolls early and that child is suddenly “advanced.” (Because we all have friends who are super smart and have attributed it to their advanced dental, follicle, or rolling abilities.)
Curious if this meant anything, I decided to use my job as a researcher and look into it . . . by Googling it :) And, of course, using the search terms “early crawler, late walker” I found many articles that explained that babies who crawl early and walk later are actually smarter, because they have to use both sides of their brains when crawling, which is much more cognitive labor than just walking. Of course, as one of Steve’s coworkers told me, the internet is like the lamppost for the drunk: often used for support instead of illumination. This explains why changing one’s search terms can also bring up other results that explain that there is actually no real significance between children who crawl longer than others.
What it all comes down to is the normal range. Although parents are often told what is average, we have to keep in mind that average is just that, the average. In fact most kids fall on either side of the average, in the “normal” range. So, for example, the normal range for walking is nine to sixteen months old, yet the average is one year. Evy is almost 14 months old, and she’s doing just fine. She’s walking faster when she holds our hands, balancing on her own at times, and also developing in other ways, such as language and social skills. As one article stated, when children decide to walk is a combination of three main factors: strength, balance, and temperament. It seems as if Evy inherited my temperament to play it safe. She is not a risk taker when it comes to walking, and until she is absolutely sure she can do it, I think she’s going to hold on to our hands for dear life. However, I have a feeling when she decides to let go, she may be running, or at least speed walking :)
Although it drives me crazy to see post after post of people bragging about why their kid is more advanced or cuter than others (we all think that about our own kids, don’t we?), I will likely stay on Facebook because it is the quickest way for me to share photos of Evy with family. But, when it comes to her development, I won’t compare her to other babies, because each baby is unique and, “No matter which baby in the neighborhood walks first or wins the speed race, the age of walking has nothing to do with eventual intelligence or motor skills. When and how your baby walks is as unique as his [or her] personality.” And I absolutely love Evy’s personality.