I am going to let some of you in on a little secret. Fathers are just as concerned about their children as mothers are. I know. It sounds unbelievable and all, but trust me it’s the truth. So, with this in mind, please stop saying things like, “Well I guess it wouldn’t matter to you, but…” or things like, “You probably don’t care…,” but above all never tell a dad that anything about his child does not concern him. That is the absolute best way to piss me off, and I bet it pisses off a lot of other dads too. I say this because I have noticed that as the little man gets older there has been mounting pressure for him to meet all his developmental “deadlines.” You know what I am talking about. The time when he is supposed to be weaned off of the bottle and breast milk altogether, when he is supposed to start walking, when is it “normal” to start talking, and so on and so on are all things that parents seem to worry about constantly. But, I don’t really understand why, especially about the weaning. Does it really matter when we wean our kids? Why can’t we as a whole just let our children decide for themselves when they are done with mommy’s boob milk or formula or the bottle?
It just seems like every time I open a parenting magazine or visit a parenting site or read a book about parenting I see all these articles about weaning your child off of the bottle or tips on how to stop breastfeeding your baby or tips on how to tell when it is time to stop. Reading all this has me wondering if at a year old breast milk is suddenly detrimental to your child’s health. I know it sounds ridiculous to me, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t a lot of people who believe it though. What a joke! If breast milk wasn’t healthy and natural a mother wouldn’t have the ability to produce it. Yes, I am aware that sometimes a mother’s milk is not enough. That is why we have developed this cool thing called baby formula, which is just as good as breast milk from what I have heard. Either way, whether you feed your child breast milk or formula, does anyone really need to place a time limit on the length of time that it is acceptable to feed children this? It just doesn’t make sense to me because it seems like it should be a personal decision. So, why does it feel like there is some sort of mandate stating that 12 months is the cut off point? Does going longer than 12 months mean that you are bad parents? No. Even I can answer that question. So, what is it?
I think as a whole we are too focused on deadlines and the timing of developmental stages of our children. Does it really matter that your kid doesn’t walk until he/she is 15 months old or two years old or whatever as long as they are healthy? Relax it will happen when the kid is ready. Sometimes you just have to let things happen on their own good time. Don’t get me wrong here, I do find that having the average timeframes of developmental milestones publishes in just about every parenting mag., book, or website beneficial in some way, but that doesn’t mean that I am going to freak out if my boy is a little behind or ahead of “schedule.” In my opinion, which means diddly to most, if my child is happy and healthy than I can’t or shouldn’t complain. That doesn’t mean that I am going to become an ostrich with my head in the sand. I am still going to ask questions and pay attention to what’s going on. I am just not going to worry myself unduly if the little man isn’t talking or whatever else when the books say he should be. I firmly believe that I will know if something is wrong when something is wrong, and if I can’t then I have a pediatrician that I trust to tell me. Until then why give myself an ulcer over it?
I honestly think that I am not the only one that needs to stop worrying. In fact I know that more people need to stop worrying too. There are too many people out there that focus on the things that could go wrong with their baby instead of the things that are going right. These are the type of parents that need to put down the “What to Expect…” books that they are reading. Yeah they are informative, but not as much as your doctor, pediatrician, or midwife is. It is important to remember that just because you have finally read a book that doesn’t mean that you are some sort of specialist on the subject now. (I am saying this for my own benefit, not to be unduly harsh and critical.)
You see, after I read a few of the “What to Expect…” books I started getting really nervous and paranoid. I focused on everything that could possibly go wrong with my baby boy because I read about it in those stupid books. Think about all the fun I missed because I was worried that my son was not staying on his development schedule. I repeatedly thought, “He isn’t doing this yet! Does that mean he is autistic? Is there something else wrong with him that I don’t know about? I should get that book and look this up.” So, I asked the pediatrician about all my concerns, and he laughed at me and told me to relax, which I have done, and boy am I glad I took his advice.
Do you know how hard it is to have some good ole’ honest fun with your baby if every time you see him/her you are calculating the possibilities of something happening or the probabilities of him/her having some sort of developmental issue or illness. Well, believe me it’s pretty damned hard!
Then I thought about what the pediatrician said and vowed to relax. I changed my modus operandi from “worrisome dad” to “fun loving happy to be a dad” dad. I just figured that your children are only kids for a short amount of time. Then they grow up. Already I am getting nostalgic thinking of how fast my little man is growing up. It seems like it was just yesterday that we brought him home from the hospital. Do I really want to spend this little bit of time worrying about him not meeting these blasted deadlines? Hell no! Let’s get to the playtime and the fun stuff! I want to relish this bit of time that I have with him when he thinks I am still cool before he eventually starts hating me when he is in highschool.