Oh yes! Milestones. We love them. For one, they make us feel grounded during a time when our daily existence is one of emotional exhaustion and confused frustration. Or is it frustrated confusion? They help us make sense of this unreadable teeny creature we’re somehow responsible for and lays our fears to rest when we’re convinced there’s something wrong with them. For instance it can be comforting to know that all new babies make weird grunty choking noises and jerk their limbs like they’re fitting during their sleep.

But best of all, they can imbue us beleaguered souls with a sense of superiority as we discover that our child is not merely normal, but quite clearly well advanced for their age.

“At one month old your baby should be able to gurgle…” [Child obviously a genius seeing as gurgling is precursor to talking] “…and smile…” [Yeeees, sort of anyway. Nothing wrong with my baby. No it’s NOT wind.] “At 28 months your child should be able to put three words together in a short basic sentence”. [Ah ha. My child is a genius. Quite obviously. She was doing that at 27 months. I mean, seriously. A GENIUS. How do you check IQ at this age – is there a test? She should surely be a member of Mensa.]

Like with horoscopes we check our milestones regularly and crosscheck them with other milestones. So the NHS milestones are compared to the Babycentre milestones which are then compared to the Mumsnet milestones. Compare the NHS‘s “You’ll usually hear your child’s first word when they’re around 15 months old” to Babycentre’s more vague 12-17 month guide: “She’s using one or more words and knows what they mean”.

So, as with horoscopes, we choose which brand of milestone we’d like most to believe depending on what they say at the time. If our child hasn’t quite reached a particular milestone (“Your child should now be able to hop on one leg”) we decide the milestones are too generalised for our little genius. I mean, only average kids hop on one leg because our little one is too busy learning the letters of the alphabet to be doing something so, well, childish.

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