shutterstock_121592785__1379768540_38.122.72.170Milestones. They stress all parents out, don’t they? Well now that I am a mom of two – I am still totally confused a pro and know everything so I’m going to give you some advice about learning to be satisfied with your toddler’s development. Ready?

Lower Your Expectations. Period. The end.

Walking

Most kids take their first steps around their first birthday. I’ve seen kids at the park walking at 10 months. I’ve seen mothers still trying to get their 16-month children interested. I sat next to a woman in Barnes and Noble who introduced her son to me and then said, “This is Lucas. Say “hi” Lucas! Say, “I’m 17-months-old and I still have no desire to walk or talk!” Ugh. That made me feel icky. You could hear the disappointment in her voice.

Look, I get it. My son walked “late” too. He stood up at about 13 months, and just proceeded to stand straight up without taking a step until he was almost 15 months. Here’s what Babycenter has to say about it:

Don’t worry if your child is one of the later ones – what’s important is the progression of skills. If your child was a little late learning to roll over and crawl, chances are he’ll need a few extra weeks or months for walking as well. As long as he keeps learning new things, you don’t have to be too concerned.

Talking

By his first birthday, your child will probably begin to use one or two words meaningfully. 

Nope. Mine didn’t. I swear when he was about 6 months old he started saying Mama and Dad – but even those words seemed to fade away for a time. He wasn’t speaking by his first birthday. Certainly not in any “meaningful” way. Now he is almost three and he speaks all day long. Guess what? He still doesn’t always respond when we ask him questions. Sometimes he’s just like, leave me alone. Other times he refuses to shut up. Kind of like myself, and pretty much everyone I know.

Here’s what Babycenter has to say about it:

Don’t worry if he struggles to get his meaning across now and then. This frustration is actually a healthy sign that he’s trying hard to communicate and cares whether you understand him.

Socialization

My almost three-year-old notices other kids and they crack him up. He doesn’t hit them or always try to steal their toys. He says thank you when they give him his toys back. He has a new sister – and for the most part he really doesn’t care that she exists. But when he does notice her, he says Hi, Frankie! and is “gentle” with her. Is this good enough socialization for a 3-year-old? I don’t know. I’m just glad he’s not biting anyone.

I’m not making light of developmental delays. Some delays should be examined further and early to help children. I’m just saying that my observation is that a lot of us are spinning our wheels and stressing out about whether our kids are “keeping up,” and we’d all do good to relax a little and enjoy this very fleeting moment of their lives when they’re small, rough drafts of human beings.

(photo: Vitalinka/ Shutterstock)