Thursday, January 07, 2010

THIS IS WHY I DON'T DO THIS

I decided again this morning to go to a moms' group thing here in Napa. I see the events come up in the group calendar I signed up for, but usually I don't go for a whole host of reasons that are mostly "I don't want to."

Well, come on. I don't care who you are: it's hard to show up for a group thing when you don't know anyone. Plus, moms scare me.

At this point I figure Hey, if I'm doing everything wrong, I'd prefer not to know. I'm happy in my baby-bubble. Eve is healthy and happy and THAT'S IT. What else does there need to be? Yes, yes, I glance online and look at books when I have specific questions, but I STILL avoid them as much as possible because every time I open a page I am faced with something I'm not doing, something Eve isn't doing, something everyone in the whole world is doing that we're not doing and crap. I've probably already ruined her whole life.

For example, I picked up a book the other day because I was feeling like a mommy masochist, and wanted to know what fun activities I "should" be doing with Eve that I haven't been. I read that by this age, you can take the baby to the park and put her in the baby swing, as long as she can hold her head up and sit while assisted. And you know what? That made some sense to me.

So on Sunday, Ish and I took Eve to the park. We strolled on over to the playground, got Eve out of her stroller, put her in the swing, and gave her a gentle push. She was utterly confused. Actually, her expression was more, "What the FUCK are you DOING?" She didn't cry or scream or anything, she just had no idea why her parents had stuck her in such a contraption.

Meanwhile, Ish and I are beside ourselves, gasping and smiling and cheering at her as though she has done something truly amazing. Eve eventually gave in to her doofy parents and half-smiled at us, probably in the hopes that we'd stop embarrassing her in front of all the older boys. But after about three minutes, she'd had enough parent-appeasing and wanted OUT.

Three minutes.

I don't know what I was expecting, really. But there we were, holding her at the park, looking around like, "Um, so...is there anything else for her to DO here?"

The answer is no. No, there are NOT a lot of reasons to take an infant to the park. I mean, we tried to get her to "slide" down about two feet of slide (while being held, of course) and that was even dumber than putting her in a swing, and none of us enjoyed it even a little bit.

Apparently, the point of taking a baby to the park is so that you can walk around with a stroller watching children who aren't yours do stuff your kid can't. And while I'm sure that this is fun for some parents, it's really not my thing. Sure, it's possible that Eve really liked the fresh air, but she seemed mostly to enjoy gnawing on her giraffe and making funny faces at her daddy. Which is precisely what we were doing at home before I got the bright idea to read about all the reasons I should be leaving the house.

Anyway.

This morning I arrived at the group meeting and immediately found myself standing next to a mom of a two-month-old and a mom of a nine-month-old. We did introductions.

Mom of nine-month-old: Oh, and who is this?
Me: This is Eve.
Mo9mo: Aww. How old is she?
Me: She'll be six months tomorrow.
Mo9mo: Is she walking yet?

WE WERE STILL IN THE PARKING LOT.

No, Eve is not walking yet. She isn't crawling yet. She isn't sitting by herself yet. She doesn't like the baby swing at the park yet. She also isn't reading The New York Times or speaking Mandarin yet, either. Maybe by six-and-a-half months?




(The rest of the get-together was actually totally pleasant, and the mom who asked if Eve was walking yet was very nice. Of course, her nine-month-old IS walking, so I will just have to assume her question came out of mere curiosity. Or something like that.)





30 comments:

  1. I've gone to several different mom groups, and I always feel so awk and I'm always relieved when the session is over and we can go home. Maybe that's the point of mom groups: to make home seem more appealing.

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  2. Ugh. I think some Mommy groups are worse than a bunch of girls at a club vying over the same man.

    Bringing your baby to the park and stuff like that isn't just for her, I think a big part of it is for you and Ish, too. Don't you go a little stir crazy in the house all day? Tell her, "Suck it up, Baby! Mama needs some sunshine and oxygen!"

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  3. OMG I thought I'd bust a gut laughing about the walking at 6 months thing. Don't worry my grandson was like a little over a year old before he walked and I think he only did then to ease his grandmother's anxiety about his not walking. Kids walk when they are ready....or they are pushed into it. My oldest walked at about 9 months, the second one walked about 11 months...the third one started walking sometime before school started. I had my hands full with three under 5 years old. They are all well adjusted now and have great jobs. I didn't totally jack them up when they were little bitty. My grandson LOVED to swing. He LOVED it. We have a picture of him on the porch swinging with his little feet out so you can see the bottom of his feet. Also, they took him to a park nearby when he was older than Eve, by about 3 months and there is a picture we call "The Need for Speed" he is so into it, but he is a boy. Eve will probably write circles around him when she can hold a crayon.

    I see kids that are prodigys and wonder why ours isn't like that, but we like him the way he is. Personally I think he doesn't do a lot of stuff because he is bored and just doesn't want to deal with it for us.

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  4. Who in their right mind would ask if a six month old can walk?? Holy cow.

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  5. LOL...I joined a Mommy Group out of sheer desperation for interaction with someone else that had kids (since for some reason we seemed to be the leaders of the pack in our crowd). I met some people I didn't like, several I could at least chat with, and a few that I actually became good friends with in a realm that extended beyond our kiddos. At any rate, you keep right on doing what you are doing. There's no need to worry about what other people's kids are doing and how early or late they are doing it. Miss Eve will hit her milestones when she is good and ready for them!

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  6. I'm not a mom, so take this however you like (but I am an aunt to two 2-year-olds, and a pseudo-aunt to a 4-year-old and a 7-month-old)... But 6 months is ridiculously early to walk. 9 months is also pretty early. I wouldn't even worry about Eve not crawling yet... Early for that, too. Every kid develops on their own schedule, and first-borns are often a little slower because they don't have older siblings to drag them along.

    You're right - Eve is happy and healthy and in a loving home. That's what matters. (Though socializing with other children, even at that young age, can be helpful... Especially when things like talking in a year or whenever start to come into play.)

    Hey, she's adorable by the way.

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  7. Wait, what? Show me a six-month-old who can walk and I'll show you some parents who are losing their minds and half their possessions. My son walked at 11 months and I know some people whose daughter walked at 9 months. They said it was insane -- cause she was 9 months old! She was into everything!

    Anyway, I basically agree with what everyone else is saying and think (from what I read) that you're doing a fine job. I think parenting is one of the only times when reading can actually hurt you. Everyone says something different and they all phrase it like if you don't agree with them, your kid will end up unhappy. They're all wrong. Just do what you're doing and it's all going to be fine :)

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  8. 6 mo.....really? I'd be worried if my baby WAS walking at 6 mo. By the way, what is the deal with comparing who's baby did this first or that first? It's not a competition people!

    By the way, I have two daughters and I've learned that the longer they wait to walk (as long as it's within the "normal" time range and not due to medical issues), let them wait! They'll be doing it for the rest of their lives! Enjoy the time that you get to hold them in your arms. Besides, while it is a joy to see them achieve this milestone, it's not without a little bit of initial "inconvenience". (Am I a bad mom for saying that?) First, now that they have independence, they'll want to walk more. Meaning that you'll have to slow down your pace a bit. Also, it'll mean that you have to pick up all your little, pretty knick knacks that little hands can reach. Sitting in a stroller is not going to be fun for much longer when they could be walking. Anyway. I'm just saying.

    Finally, I also have learned that there is REAL value in allowing your child to crawl. It can affect brain development much more than you know. Now, this isn't one of those, "Now I need to panic that my baby won't crawl or isn't crawling", comments. Because it's not. I'm just saying that everything will happen in the time it's supposed to happen. Don't get suckered into the, "My little Johnny is...... What about your daughter?

    Sounds like you've got the right perspective on all of this anyway.

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  9. My kid hated the swing - HATED IT! And he turned out OK (mostly). (Except he needs a haircut.) (sigh) He also didn't walk until 2 weeks before his first birthday, so there you have it.

    And I think the reason for bringing Baby to the park? To socialize her. Get her used to other people and other places - kinda like a puppy. Just . . . you probably shouldn't let her pee on the bushes, that's all.

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  10. Moms scare me too. I mean, they used to be scary, but now they are Scary.

    I used to wonder why I didn't make any REAL friends when I was home with my kids.

    But really, it's no wonder.

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  11. Our little girls were born on the same day - Chrissy is not walking, crawling or sitting up unassisted either..she is able to read the New York Times though :) (I KID)

    She's rolls over like crazy and that's enough for me right now, honestly I am not in any bit of a rush for her to crawl &/or walk.

    Chrissy is in full time day care so I see what the other kids are doing at certain ages...I just keep in mind that we're all individuals (even our little 6 mo olds) and when she's ready to do something new, it will be on her terms, no one elses.

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  12. Great post! Yours is the only blog I read about that has posts about parenting(that sounds awkward but I didn't know if you classified your blog as a "Mommy blog" or not and I've noticed that people get really offended quite easily out in the blogosphere so I'm trying to be careful) that actually makes me wants to have kids at some point. Your posts are funny and inspiring and very open minded. All the rest scare me. So, thanks for that.

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  13. I didn't really do "mommy groups" when my kids were little because I worked. I went to a few LLL meetings, though. So *most* of the moms I socialized with were people I already knew in some other capacity (neighbors, work friends, etc.). I found it helpful to get ideas from others on how to cope with some of the challenges (from finding time to shower when they're really little and have so many needs, to dealing with teething or crying or starting solids or getting them to nap), generally learning what worked for others. Nowadays most moms seem to get that from the internet, but it didn't exist, 20-25-ish years ago when I had my babies, and neither were grandmothers and other relatives (i.e., the people our moms probably talked to bout these things), because we'd moved across the country and long-distance phone calls were expensive.

    So for me THAT was the benefit of getting together with other moms with kids under a year old. Sure, we might compare notes about when our kids sat up, walked, talked, teethed, etc., but we all already understood that each kid is unique and develops at his/her own pace. One might walk a little early but talk a little late (or vice versa), no biggie.

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  14. All of my friends are single and childless and they show (or at least feign) excitement at every milestone my daughters reach no matter when they reach it. They only compare to what they weren't doing the last time they saw them. I like it that way!

    It also works out well because with none of them having babies, when we have brunch once a month they all want to hold and play with mine!

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  15. I'm pregnant with my first and Due in April. I've been a long time reader of your blog and love the baby updates. If my child was walking at 6 months I'd have her on The Tonight Show because that's some unbelievable talent! LOL Don't feel you are alone I've not even had my daughter yet and the thought of play groups make me want to hurl! Do what's right for you and Eve :)

    Longtime Reader JL

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  16. Shouldn't Mommy groups be about mommy and not the baby at all? I never had this, but always wanted one- my sister had the best one where the women still get together with their kids now teens and preteens. Now the kids are home or in another room and the women are playing cards and drinking mojitos. Now THAT's a mommy's group.

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  17. It's just curiosity I think, fret not. People just like to know what your baby's doing as a way to sort of get to know her and have a sense of what you're going through at this point in her development. I don't think it's ever intended to be competitive.
    And that lady was just silly. She's so wrapped up in the crazy of walking-ness, she forgot what life was like 3 months ago.

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  18. it doesn't get any better, i'm afraid. i was at my 11yr old daughter's volleyball practice last night, where i avoid all mom-contact (experience has taught me well). next to me a cadre of four ladies were one-upping each other about who had the hardest time shaving their legs. one woman, who obviously wanted to bag this contest, said she had renovated her bathroom to install a shelf so she could "hike up her leg in the bathtub." i kid you not. walking at six months? just the tip of the "mommy-types are psyco-bitch nut balls" iceberg.

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  19. Oh now, I get the not wanting to go to events where yo do not know anyone, but keep trying a bit. I made a few good, true friends from a mommy playgroup.

    All you need is to find 1 or 2 other moms who share your sensibilites who live nearby. As Eve gets old, the outings with kids/moms get more fun (really).

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  20. Walking at 6 months? WTF! My four kids walked at 10, 10 1/2, 11 and 12 months. der.

    As for putting her in the swing, heh. When my youngest was little I put him in the swing at the park (he was around a year maybe?) and he was completely freaked out, held his breath and shook. Yep, mom of the year. That's me.

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  21. Sometimes at mommy groups people are just as curios and worried about their own parenting as your are. For example, I did walk at 6 months and promptly rammed by head/arms/legs into every object in my path. No scooting, no crawling, just up and walk. My mom was interviewed by social services because they couldn't believe that a baby that young could possibly be walking. Maybe the other mother doesn't know that much about children aside from her own and was just genuinely curious. Mommy groups are supposed to be a place to connect and find friends, try to relax and not worry about people judging you!

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  22. I agree w/Sarah - I meant to say earlier that the mom of the kid who walked early just probably wanted validation or company - when they do start to walk, it gets a LOT harder for a while.

    Like following a tiny drunk person and trying to prevent them from falling into/over/on things ;)

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  23. The idea of a 9-month-old walking is terrifying!

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  24. Oh for the love. And I thought it was bad that people always asked me if I had kids, as if to label me accordingly.

    I'm sorry there's a keeping up with the Joneses aspect to parenting. I feel like you and Ish could keep Eve in the house until she was 5 and she'd blossom into a beautiful human being. Just let her out after that. ;)

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  25. I wish I could write something funny or witty like everyone else, but I'm covered in my oldest son's dried snot - and I probably won't shower until Monday - and that just sucks the humor right out of me. But, I can still be bitchy!

    I *love* (sarcasm) it when some parents wear their children's accomplishments like a badge of good parenting. A kid who walks at the insanely early age of 6 months was simply ready to walk, period. It doesn't mean a parent did something "right." In fact, whatever the parent did or didn't do probably had no bearing on the child's ability to walk at, again, an INSANELY EARLY AGE. All children have their own developmental timeline, which, in absence of a disability or delay, is good for the child to maintain on his/her own. Developmental milestones in regards to gross motor, fine motor, language and expression all co-occur for a reason. Skipping ahead so early just isn't the norm, so think of it this way: unlike Eve, her kid is weird! (That's the bitchy coming out.)

    Wow, I remembered something from my former life/profession. Thanks for bringing that out in me! :-)

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  26. I'm sorry you had a negative experience. There are always awkward situations everywhere you go. Write this off as one of them, but don't let it discourage you from going again. Or even from choosing another group to try. When you make the right connection, a friend who is in the same stage of life that you are is a great thing to have. I wish you luck in finding her.

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  27. Seriously. I love your blog. Not speaking Mandarin yet... !! HAAA!!!

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  28. What the hell kind of mother doesn't know that 6 month olds don't walk? Matilda is nearly 9 months (her birthday is april 28) and when she tries to stand up and walk, I intend to push her down. Babies are nothing but trouble when they learn to walk! Trust me!

    By the way, Happy new year, congratulations on your weight loss plan, and please inspire me to lose some. You are a wonderful writer and a beautiful person. And you made a gorgeous baby. Next time you see that mother at the park please punch her in the face for me. I have no trouble telling those women what I think. Tillie's first words will be "shut up you fucking hosebeast."

    xox Susan/SnoozanK from Twitter

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  29. next time, you can be a total dick and do something like this:

    mo9mo: my baby is walking
    you: oh, how long did she crawl and sit up on her own?
    mo9mo: oh she just skipped right past those stages!!
    you: it's a shame your baby will have problems reading for the rest of her life because you chose to fast track her development.

    BAM

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  30. My daughter was 2.5 months early, when she was 3 months old (which at the time she was equavalent to a 2-week old) I took her to church for the first time and one of the church ladies asked if she was eating solid food. I laughed out loud until I realized she was serious.

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