Niderlander -

Prosenter, centimetre og delmål ... hjelp!

Av: Barnhill, Julie
Publisert: 27.02.2009
Visse ord og talemåter sender kuldegysninger nedover ryggen på alle mødre: kognitiv utvikling, vekstdiagrammer, utviklingsmessige mål, prosenter og det "normale". Les videre for gode perspektiver.

Certain words and phrases send shivers down the collective spine of mothers everywhere: Cognitive development. Growth chart. Developmental milestones. Percentiles. Standardized test scores.

Ugh. I’m breaking out in hives just typing these! From the moment a pregnancy-test strip reads positive, or an adoptive child’s final arrival date is announced, we’re bombarded by well-meaning physicians with numbers (weight, height, heart rate, etc.), averages and statistics. We inhale book after book written by child development experts.
And there’s nothing wrong with any of the above, per se. But as the mother of three previously preschool-aged children, I’ve learned all the data, averages and professionally highlighted milestones can do a real number on your confidence as mom. As well as foster an inordinate amount of angst and apprehension in your heart and mind.
If there’s anything we do well as moms (in a twisted sort of way), it’s comparing our children and their accomplishments to that of another mother’s kids. No one has to teach us this skill; it’s as natural as our toddler’s innate preference for cookies over cauliflower or hoarding all the toys over sharing them. It just is.
But if we live by percentages and developmental comparison growth charts, we can just as easily die by them. Case in point: The following entries are from the previously obsessed Julie Barnhill journal of 18+ years ago:
Peace is hard to come by because my pudgy 8-month-old is off-thecharts when it comes to average weight for someone his age (we didn’t refer to him as “Buddha Baby” for nothing), while his first cousin looks significantly less rotund.
Confidence wanes as my 4-year-old enthusiastically identifies the letter “C” as the letter “R” time and time again during preschool testing. Especially considering my consonant-challenged child did so correctly the night before with me, his college-educated elementary degreed mother. Grrrr.
And joy? Well, obsessing over percentages, inches and such — whether it’s medical research data or the thoughts and worries of playgroup moms — all too often mutes our ability to see and celebrate the true overall growth of our children. I’m not speaking to the mom who truly finds her children in a precarious place developmentally and needs professional wisdom to handle the situation. No, this one’s for the moms who monitor their success and/or failure as a mother by the altogether unrealistic and ultimately disheartening form of comparison.
Here’s one tough mother truth: You and your child are delightfully complex and far more than a sum of percentages alone. And lest you forget, the day-to-day, seemingly ho-hum interactions you have with your kids do feed their senses and develop relational, spiritual, intellectual and physical, areas of their bodies, minds and souls. It’s so easy to forget all that in the middle of being a mom!
See, my tubby little cubby all stuffed with fluff as an 8-monthold is now a slim, 6-foot, 6-inch 19-year-old who complains about not being bigger (i.e., weighing more). Go figure!
And the 4-year-old with the “C” issues just completed a 225- page book that contained lots and lots of words with said letter. Go figure, again.
I’ve told myself many times over the years, It’s gonna be alright. And you know what? It usually is. Most of the things you worry yourself sick about, or compare your little one against, or attempt to “fix,” work out in the end. Really.
As you make your way through the days and weeks ahead, embrace an entirely different mindset. Cut yourself loose from the warped and stifling philosophy of I am an all or nothing success or failure as a mom based on the exact moment my child potty trains, loses the binkie or properly identifies that stupid letter of the alphabet! Relax — and put a little “normal” back into those normalization charts and details of being a mom.



© Copyright 2009 Christianity Today International - this article was first published in MomSense magazine.

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