By Sholain Govender-Bateman, Pretoria based journalism lecturer who worked for The Star, Pretoria & other publications. She is mum to two gorgeous girls, Isobel and Aishwari, and wife to Barry. Visit her on twitter @sholain.
Like any mum I worry about my kids. And after the year that I’ve been through with my little one, I’ve learnt that parent’s should always trust their instincts!
My hubby and I were typical first-time parents and devout worriers with our first-born. Isobel, who turns four in May, only got her first tooth when she was 13-months-old. I called her the ‘toothless wonder’ as she munched her way through any shape or form of food including carrots and uncooked pasta, using just her super-strong gums!
Doctors were consulted, books read, family histories researched so that we could solve the mystery of the missing teeth. We often heard: “Every child is different”, “Aaaaah, you’re first time parents right?”, “Don’t worry, she’ll be fine”, “Is she drinking enough milk?” and all the other well-intentioned comments you tend to get when you voice concern about your baby.
And then out popped that little tooth soon after her first birthday and off she toddled and before we knew it, we had our very own walking, talking little monster princess.
So when baby number two arrived, we were calm. We had the books and some experience, we’d heard the comments and we just knew that Aishwari(16months) would do everything she needed to do in her own time and we were going to relax and enjoy it.
By 6 months, when she wasn’t rolling over or even trying to sit up and her sleep hours still far outweighed her awake time, I was worried but one doc assured me that her muscle tone was fine: “Let’s see what happens between now and her next check-up”, “No need for concern”. Another specialist said that her muscle tone was weak but we shouldn’t worry.
She’s still sleeping so much was met with “You’re so lucky!”.
She isn’t moving at all: “At least you don’t have to run after her yet.”
Once again the well-intentioned cliches emerged: “Every child is different”, “She’ll be fine”, “You’re worried about nothing”, “I know of lots babies who only started rolling/sitting/crawling after they turned one”…
It was frustrating and scary, trying desperately to ignore my motherly instinct which was shouting: “Get her checked!” because everyone around me was saying: “Don’t worry.”
When she still wasn’t rolling/sitting/crawling close to her first birthday – I finally reached a point where I was not willing to ignore my instincts and took her to a physio, less than a week after her first session, she finally began rolling over.
She is yet to walk but her development over the last few months has been amazing. Within the space of a month she went from sitting sturdily, to pulling herself up, to cruising, to literally climbing onto everything within reach and to standing on her own for a few seconds at a time.
Every new milestone reached is a celebration and we are now waiting with anticipation for that thrilling moment when she takes her first steps.
Yes, every baby is different and they generally do things in their own time, but if you, as a parent have any worries – don’t hesitate to have it checked out so that you can be worry-free and enjoy your little one.