Monday, August 10, 2009

In Charles' ninth month of life outside the womb, he has finally learned to crawl. Is my son retarded, as in, slow to achieve? Shouldn't he have been doing this months ago? According to parenting books, yes. Also, he started babbling about a week-and-a-half ago, something he should have been doing at about seven months.

What is perhaps more worrying to his stumbling-blindly-through-this-life mother is that he HATES crawling. I had expected him to be ecstatic over his newfound freedom of movement. Instead, every time he hoists himself onto hands and knees, he cries. Cries because he wants to get to me, to the dog, to Tony, to the laundry basket, to the toys faster, faster, FASTER! Crawling is hard for him, and clearly too slow a means of transportation. He is an angry little boy, throwing temper tantrums, which I didn't expect to see for at least a few more months, over the smallest things, and especially when he can't move fast enough or when he is left alone for more than a second. His crawling, more often than not, turns into a frenzied army-crawl as the tears fall harder and faster the more he realizes that he is oh-so-far away from his goal.

And the sleeping. Never a great sleeper, Charles seemed to be doing so well (up only once each night), until his eye teeth started coming in, and now his front teeth are descending, ONE AT A TIME, thankyouverymuch, and he wakes up screaming at all hours of the night. To top it all off, he has given up the binky (probably because of those pesky front teeth) and has not quite learned how to soothe himself without it. The requisite cold that has accompanied all of his teeth so far causes him to wake up crying from his naps.

He wears 24-month clothes and weighs 25 pounds. And he's cute as a button. I just hope no one mistakes him for an 18-month-old with learning disabilities.

And I, I feel more like I have a parasite now than I did during the first nine months of his life, when I was pregnant. I am still fat, embarrassingly fat. Everybody always says "nine months up, nine months down," but why am I still 10lbs overweight? I can't go to the bathroom without him, unless I want him to scream (which I let him do on a regular basis. My back can only take so much hauling him around, and it's clearly not hurting him to cry for 30 seconds while I put in my contacts or whatever - bad mothering, sigh, but I have to at least get dressed each day!). I can't make enough milk for him to attend daycare AND have a night out without him, so that's just going to have to wait until he's weaned (at the rate we're going, that will be NEVER, as the boy likes him some boob). I don't know how to soothe him to sleep without nursing him (this is where you bottle-feeding mothers have an advantage - nursing is such a crutch), and I can never be sure if his near-constant fussing is from pain or frustration or mere obstinate behavior.

Were it not for the fact that I love him with my whole being, I would surely have gone nuts by now. I give him a thousand kisses each day (and he kisses back!). I breathe deeply the little-boy scent he is developing. I make him laugh when we dance together. As he wriggles each time I take his diaper off, I wrangle him back, amid his protests, to a clean, dry diaper.

It's tough. I feel like I have done all the things I was supposed to: breastfeeding, cloth diapering, homemade baby food, lots of reading, etc, and I still have screwed him up somehow. He can barely crawl. He can't walk. He can't talk. He can barely babble. He doesn't have the hand coordination of a 9-month-old - he can't clap or wave his hands in the air on cue or anything like that. Where did I go wrong? Is all this cuteness worth it if he is stupid? Also, don't get me wrong, I am not calling Charles stupid, I am simply wondering if that's the explanation here. And what will I do if that's the case?


Amanda and Izabel Rainha said...
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Amanda and Izabel Rainha said...

I had the same concerns about Izabel. She didnt walk till she was 15 months Will only say a few words, like milk, cup, Mom, dad, Ok and some others. My aunt who works in medical Feild says you can't rush them. Kids take there own time learning things. They will get there eventualy. If he is crawling he is doing good. Izabel didn't crawl till she was 11 months old. She didnt like being on her belly. Now she 18 months old and walks everywhere. She wont sit still unless someting catches her eye. You are a great mohter to Charles. Dont let yourself think you've done something wrong cause you haven't. Keep up the good work.

K Schimmy said...

First off... DUDE. I'm going to drop the f-bomb, I'm sorry, but f**k the parenting books! The parenting books don't count on a baby being 25 lbs at 9 months old (or even 24 lbs 4 oz at 8 months, like ours!). Crawling is HARD when they weigh that much, because their arms have to support so much weight. Ruary isn't even close to crawling yet... he can't even stay up on all fours because he is too freaking heavy.

Secondly, Charles will talk at his own rate. Some kids are just quiet, then they pop out with complete, articulate sentences. Every kid is different.

Third, TEETHING SUCKS. It does terrible things to our childrens' personalities, but just think of the satisfaction that can be gained from sinking one's new teeth into a large, juicy Porterhouse.

YOU ARE DOING AN AWESOME JOB. FORGET ABOUT THOSE EXTRA TEN POUNDS! In order to breastfeed, our bodies keep a small reserve of extra weight in order to deal with a potential famine, so we could keep feeding our children if we were to starve. When weaning occurs, you will drop that weight. Every time I see you, it appears that you have shrunk, so rest assured that what you see in the mirror is not what we are seeing! You are gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous!!!

Hang in there (imagine poster of kitten clawing to the end of a rope).

Mom and Dad said...

Ditto to what is said. You are doing an awesome job. Charles is right on target for him. Course my expert opinion is for two kids, both of whom had vastly differing time tables. My opinion is boys develop differently than girls #1, and he is growing fast. I feel the body can only focus on one major milestone at a time - his is growing and learning to walk. He is way ahead in that category and his teeth are coming in fast, his motor skills are major not fine and that is normal for boys. Fine motor skills include speech. Communication is not his problem. He communicates fine.
I would say listen to the K girl. She knows of what she says. Love ya

Keleigh said...

Turns out my degree in early childhood development might be some good after all! Kelly is sooo right: F**k the parenting books. I mean come on, boys and girls don't develop in the same sequence or at the same rate, let alone the spectrum of development within the genders. Then start factoring in things like Charlie's size and he pretty much blows the whole formula. Unless you're gonna have your pop and hubby work up some algorithm to adapt book generalities to your specific bundle-o-joy, you've really got to remember that you were born knowing more about Charles than those books will ever be able to tell you.

My brother was a big baby like Charlie and people did think he was older than he was most of the time. Cripes, he was 6'3" by the time he was 11 years old and 6'9" before graduating high school. OF COURSE he was motor-delayed! His poor muscles never got a chance to develop memory before they stretched into longer bones again. I'm not saying that's gonna be Charlie's story, but if it is, it's NOT your parenting that causes it!

My brother was lucky 'cause my Dad grew up the same way and told him over and over that it would level itself out and that it wasn't HIM it was his growing that was temporarily causing him to be overly challenged in the coordination department.

Once his body quit growing long enough, both gross and small motor skills came right along and he's quite accomplished with both as an adult.

So cut yourself some slack. He's doing life on his own terms. Hmmm. I wonder where he got that from?