I know we need milestones to keep an eye on how our children are developing, but sometimes it feels like only exist to lurk over moms' shoulders and make them nervous every month of every year for 18 years. Especially in the first year, those milestones just served to up my anxiety level. When my daughter didn't laugh on target, my milestone-addled brain was bombarded by a million thoughts, reflecting what I felt when my baby didn't reach her 4-month milestone.
I have to admit, until my daughter was a few months old, milestones weren't even on my radar. When she rolled at three months, I thought, "Oh! I guess that's what you do now!" I was so wrapped up in simply keeping her alive and helping her grow, that I didn't really take a break to check in and learn about the milestones she should be reaching, and when. Our pediatrician seemed to think everything was on track, so I left it at that.
However, that first roll was the beginning of me paying attention to the milestones my daughter should be hitting as she grew. And, of course and according to the books I decided to read to inform myself about said milestones, the ability to laugh was supposed to happen shortly after she starting rolling over. The problem? It didn't. Nearly two months later, my daughter let out the biggest belly laugh when a friend sang a silly song for her (apparently my partner and I didn't sing songs silly enough) and I was so relieved and excited to hear her laugh. I even learned the extra silly song, just in case.
Until that moment arrived, two months later than it was "supposed to," I was a mess, navigating a slew of feelings that left me feeling afraid for my daughter. Turns out, all babies grow and develop at different rates (weird, right?) so do yourself a favor and avoid feeling the following things if it takes your little one just a tiny bit longer to hit a milestone you've been looking forward to.