School in general is somewhat of a touchy topic for me because I had a rough time with it. Not so much with the actual class portion of it all; more so with the kids. Kids are MEAN. They say mean things. They judge. They pick on other kids. Feelings get hurt. Blah blah blah. I wasn’t one of those kids that got picked on and then went and sulked in the corner though. No way. I’m too loud and too outgoing for that. Instead, I sucked it up and did my best to let things roll off my back. I discovered that I’m good at making it LOOK like things don’t bother me when in reality, I let things get to me far more easily than they should.
I’m a worrywart. I worry way too much about every little thing. I KNOW that my 3 year old is more than likely NOT going to be judged by the other 3 year olds if he has a little bit of syrup around his mouth, but it isn’t the 3 year olds I fear – it’s their moms. Moms (women in general, really) can be catty! There’s no other way to put it. And I’m not talking about ALL moms, but we all know there are catty moms out in the world. They judge your every little move:
“Her kid is wearing THAT?!”
Well, yes. My child IS wearing that. HE picked it out because I am teaching him to be an independent individual and he is learning how to make choices for himself.
“Is that jelly I see on his cheek? Gosh, doesn’t she wipe his face?”
Oh, that? Yeah. I guess it is. I let him wipe his own face (ya know, the whole “independent kid” thing) and then I wiped it when we got here. Kinda hard to get every last spot when they move around.
“Oh I would never send MY child to school in a stained shirt like that!”
Well…. it WAS clean – until he spilled chocolate milk on himself in the car. Whoops.
And I have one thing to say to all the judgmental, self-righteous moms out there: Take that holier-than-thou attitude and SHOVE IT.
The moms of the preschool world aren’t the only terrifying thing though. My kid was recently sent home with a progress report. Not one that says “This is how your kid is doing in math/reading/science,” but one that tells you how they are doing developmentally. Well, that makes me worry too.
When my son was about 18 months, he had several “red flags” for Autism. Anyone who has an autistic child or who has ever had some of those “red flags” come up knows how terrifying this can be. It can really make you question a lot of things. I decided to wait until his 2 year check up before making up my mind on whether I wanted him to see a specialist or not and I’m glad I did. He had zero “red flags” at that appointment and his doctor wasn’t the least bit concerned.
After working with a therapist, we determined that the reason for a lot of those “red flags” was mostly due to the fact that his biological father and I were going through a divorce around that time. Moral of that story is “Do your absolute best to never yell/argue in front of your children.”
With that being said, I still worry when it comes to my son’s development. I worry that he still isn’t caught up with the other kids his age. So when his progress report came home and there were a few things marked as “working on,” I immediately began wondering “Am I doing everything right? How much of this stuff should he REALLY be doing at this age? Do ALL kids do these things? What can I do to get him doing this?”
I’m sorry, but I think that all the growth charts and percentiles and milestones that doctors have put in place for our children are just plain stupid. I feel like many parents (and some doctors even) use these milestones as deadlines when really they are more like estimates. Your kid didn’t start crawling at 6 months? Okay. Neither did mine. They weren’t sitting at 5 months like Betty-Lou’s daughter down the street? Who gives a flip?! My son sat at 6 months and my daughter at 6 and a half months. Not walking by the time they turn one? Don’t pressure them. My son started at 11 months, a friend’s daughter started at 10 months, another friend’s daughter started at 8 months, and my daughter is now 13 months and she doesn’t even stand alone for more than a few seconds at a time. Every child is different.
Same thing with the growth charts. My son is 3 and a half and weighs 29 lbs. I worried that he was underweight because I know a lot of kids his age who weigh over 30 lbs. Well, we went to his doctor for a check up and turns out that he is perfect! Not underweight at all. He’s just a string bean. His pediatrician said that for his height to weight ratio, he is right where he should be. She also said that with him being as active as he is, he’s probably always going to be on the skinny side.
Then you have my daughter: 13 months and only 17 lbs 7 oz. She is a petite little thing. But she was 5 lbs 10 oz when she was born – she’s always been small. Her doctor wanted me to put her on formula at 9 months because she wasn’t “gaining enough weight” and was in the “zero percentile” for weight. I asked her doctor to look at her height and tell me how much she had grown – she gained several inches and was sitting at the 33 percentile mark for height. So while she didn’t “gain” any weight, she did continue to grow. Plus, she had started crawling 2 months earlier and was shedding baby fat because of it. Once I pointed those things out, her pediatrician’s whole tone changed to “Oh! Well in that case, she’s fine.”
I don’t like worrying, but I’m a mom. It’s kind of my job to worry about every little thing.
But I really wish our society didn’t try so damn hard to give us things to worry about!
C’mon world… help out the moms.
Make our lives just a LITTLE less crazy.