She Should Be Speaking At Two

Mimi had her 18 month checkup last week. Poked and prodded, measured and compared, we got "the stats" from her pediatrician.

She's 80th percentile for height but 30th percentile for weight (Non-parents: that's pediatrician-speak for she's taller than 80% but heavier than 30% of toddlers her age). She should be speaking by two, but more specifically, she should be saying between 3 and 50 words.

Between 3 and 50?

That's right, folks. Quite a spread.

That "recommendation" or "guideline" is the embodiment of what the modern parent has to go through. No longer can children learn and grow at their own pace. They must be evaluated and charted and compared to their peers. But as if that wasn't enough, you're now telling me that she needs to say between 3 and 50 words. You know what that metric tells me? That you have no clue what normal is. We all worry that our children won't hit their developmental milestones, but now we also have to wonder what that milestone is. Is it 3 words? Or is it 50? Is a child who speaks 3 words any less "advanced" than once who speaks 50?

We as adults fight for our individuality and we acknowledge that we are all different and as unique as snowflakes on a winter morning. Why, then, do we seek to pigeon hole our children into these set molds and expectations?

She's too tall, she's too skinny, she shouldn't suck her thumb, she should be saying more.

Well I happen to think that she's not a statistical anomaly. She's an individual. She's Mimi. She'll do it as soon as she's ready and she'll be just fine. Because after all, she can't do it before she's ready.

Can she?

I May Not Be Perfect, But My Husband Is

I know, I know, *gag* nobody's perfect. Bear with me, people, it's Father's Day weekend!!

I still have feelings of mom guilt. Standard, I think, for the working mom, but even more severe for the working mom who happens to travel for work.

Every Monday morning at 5:30am, I dutifully head to the airport. I leave my precious Mimi at home sleeping peacefully in her crib. She never knows when I leave, but she always knows when I'm gone. V is tasked with keeping the household going; he's captain of the ship Monday though Friday.

He always keeps me updated about Mimi's progress throughout the week. "She sprouted a new tooth!" Or "she started singing her A-B-C's!" My favorite was "she used the potty!" (This last announcement was accompanied by visual aides). He does everything without complaint, and is so gracious and loving.

When I get home on Friday afternoon, he doesn't just tap out and let me "take my shift". That's when he kicks in to high gear, mowing the lawn or tackling small projects around the house (like building our dining room table and benches... Did I mention he's perfect?) I don't know where he gets the energy, honestly.

The weekend is usually split into girls time, family time, and couples time. Couples time naturally occurs whenever Mimi is asleep, so during daytime nap and any time after 7pm. This time is so valuable because it helps us recharge, well, as a couple! Girls time happens so that he can have V time to decompress, and Mimi and I can have "we" time. We start with brunch, then run errands, and usually finish up by visiting family across town. Family time occupies the gap between couples time and girls time. (Did I mention I'm type A?)

But back to the mom-guilt bit. I can't help but feel like Mimi is growing up without me, and that I'm not "carrying my own weight" in the household. V has been so amazing and supportive in not only taking care of everything on the home front but also constantly reassuring me that he's okay, she's okay, we're okay, and that I should be okay too.

This has been the most significant Father's Day because I am able to truly appreciate everything that V has done and is doing as a husband and a father. He's pretty amazing, if you ask me.

I'm definitely not perfect. And I'll admit, he may not be perfect, but he's pretty damn close.

Apprehensive And A Bit Scared

I remember when baby Mimi was born. I went to the hospital apprehensive and a bit scared, but left with the deepest love I had ever felt. She needed me; she needed us. A tiny little thing who snuggled so perfectly in our arms. Her personality blossomed, and her smile was infectious...

I remember when baby Mimi first started daycare. I dropped her off, apprehensive and a bit scared. It was hard letting go, but I'll admit it was even harder getting her photo updates throughout the day. She's having fun! She's having fun! She's... Having fun? She's not terrified? Miserable? Lonely? Home sick? Missing me? Missing us? That's when it hit me that she was becoming independent. She was becoming her own person, and there was nothing I could do to stop it. She didn't NEED me to be happy; she didn't NEED us...

I remember when baby Mimi went to visit her cousin for the first time. I was apprehensive and a bit scared. Would they like each other? They laughed and played, rolled around, fought, pulled hair, shared toys, shared bottles, shared food, and all the fun stuff babies do. This was it, this is what we had been missing. Isolated and in our own world, we realized that Mimi needed more. Mimi needed family. That's when V and I made our decision: we're moving!!!

I remember when I got the job offer of my dreams. I remember being apprehensive and a bit scared. I had moved to a new country, to multiple states, but this would be the biggest move by far. It wasn't just about me. It was about my entire family. Were we doing the right thing???

I remember when I started my new job and I learned that I was going to have to travel every single week. I had initially anticipated that the travel would phase out as I transitioned to an office role. Not so: the travel was a permanent fixture. I couldn't help but be apprehensive and a bit scared. How can I travel when I have a young child? A young marriage? That's when V stepped in. "If this is what you want to do, I'll support you 100%". He did exactly that. And more....

I have learned that it's okay to be apprehensive. It's okay to be scared. It's okay to wonder if you're doing the right thing or going in the right direction. It just means that you're stepping away from everything you know and venturing into the unknown. It could end up being the best thing you ever did, or, you could fail miserably. Either way, success or failure, relish in the fact that you tried something new. No risk, no reward.

And So It Begins

The past few months have been a whirlwind. Abandoning the comfort of complacency and daring to delve into the unknown, we made the exciting transition to a new chapter in our lives. We leapt at the promise of new jobs, becoming homeowners, continuing the pursuit of academic excellence, but most importantly: family. Family has led us in this journey from state to state, finally settling in and feeling a sense of belonging. It's a daunting task keeping it all together, but we're making it work. We're figuring it out and making the rules up as we go-- one day at a time.