OK – paranoid parent klaxon – scuse me a mo while I have one of them infrequent FREAK OUTS about how my child is developing even though I KNOW children develop at different rates cos EVERY CHILD IS DIFFERENT innit, but still – lemme vent – just for a sec – then I’ll stop. OK? OK.
So on FB today I see a status update about a 2 year old (Moo is 20 months) speaking, by which I mean PROPER TALKING, in sentences and everyfink. And a friend t’other day was recounting a tale about how their child – just a month older than Moo – was starting to form sentences. Also, a few of Moo’s little friends are beginning some of that proper talk shizzle. And there was that girl in the park – the almost 2 year old – who said to me ‘I like mud, it’s exciting’. FFS.
Moo can say ‘cakey’. And ‘no’. And other random wordage. But no sentences. Not yet.
I am not one of those people who will map their child’s development using one of those chart thingies, cos, as I’ve already ascertained, EVERY CHILD IS DIFFERENT. But, I can’t help but feel vaguely antsy about Moo’s speech and how it’s coming along. Or NOT coming along, as it were.
I’m sure there’s some gubbins somewhere that says kids Moo’s age should be learning 3000 new words a day or something, but I can’t be looking at that stuff or my head might explode. What I worry about is that I’m not doing the right things – I repeat words back to her, I simplify phrases, and encourage her to answer questions (‘What would you like to eat?’ ‘Cakey’ ‘Would you like a sandwich?’ ‘No’) and still fret that it’s not good enough. And then OF COURSE I compare her progress with her peers and freak myself out even more.
My daughter is amazing in every way, innit. And all them children that can speak in sentences already are also amazing. But really, what I’m trying to say here without coming across as a total cunt, is that I want my child to be MORE AMAZING than EVERY OTHER CHILD. Short of enrolling her in Mensa or, erm, forcibly hexing all children to not speak ever, that’s not going to happen. Not while her vocabulary consists mainly of sweet baked products and emphatic negatives, anyway.
I’m being daft, right? Moo’s just fine, yeah?
What else can I do to make Moo talk proper?
It’s almost spring time* and my thoughts have turned to new beginnings.
The Moo is getting bigger – soon she’ll outgrow her hutch, and will need a paddock – and I have a feeling that my company, as sterling and enervating as it is, will no longer be enough to keep her happy. Yes, my friends, I’m talking about independence day. The day when I leave Moo in the care of someone that a) isn’t me, or b) isn’t related to me.
Like, in a nursery, or summink.
GULP. Can it be done? Can I do it? The thought gives me some heebie-jeebies, I admit. Cos she’ll miss me, right? She’ll be upset? She’ll cry, inconsolably? And mope in the corner until I turn up to care for her again?
And I’ll cry inconsolably, right? And be upset? And miss her, and mope in the corner till I have to go pick her up?
Yeah, more than likely. But it has to be done, mais non? Moo has to know how to behave in a social situation without me there to guide her. She has to know that I – her mother, her ONLY MOTHER – can’t be there for her 100% of the time, all day, every day. She has to learn to cope. Without me.
And I have left her before – with Hub, with Grandma, with other sundry relatives. It’s been fine. She knows them, so she’s comfortable. And I’ve always been back within the day.
I have a challenge coming up. An overnight stay, without Moo. My first time I’ve been a whole night away from my baby girl. Eek. It’s bittersweet – of course I’m relishing the thought of a night’s sleep where I’m not half-listening to the baby monitor… where the slightest moan or sleepy grumble has me lurching awake in an instant… where I’m required to get up and settle a grumpy baby at 2am if needs be… and OF COURSE I am looking forward to a NIGHT OUT IN LONDON LIKE WHAT REAL PEOPLE DO WOOP WOOP – but… what if she needs me? And I’m not there? That’s what us parents fear most, right? That our babies will need us, and WE’RE NOT THERE?
So to leave her in a nursery. Will be a bind. And a wrench. Moo’s a sociable lass, I want her to experience as much as she can and I think a nursery – a good one – will be important to her development – but I also want to remain the most important person in her life (apart from IgglePiggle) for just that little bit longer. Selfish?
Of course, I’m not talking about chucking her in at the deep end… half a day a week to begin with, maybe… and I’ll make sure they integrate her properly. Give her some hay. Keep her mucked out. Polish her hooves. Oh no wait, that’s my unicorn.
Am I doing the right thing? Will Moo benefit from this? She’s only 14 months. Is that too little?
*it’s not, though, is it. It’s still bloody winter and will be till June. When it turns to autumn. Bastards.