Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Yes, Virginia, Boys are Slower than Girls

New mothers are no strangers to worry. We worry about anything and everything. Even before they are born we worry. If our prenatals are good enough, if all the Mexican food devoured during the second trimester will somehow cause this new being to have a fiesty temperament or a third eyeball or something. Whether to nurse or not, and if so, for how long.

Jack is my third, so I worry a lot less about some key things. Like, I finally get that the baby could care less if the crib bumper is straight from Pottery Barn or Ebay, or if his bouncy seat has already been through three cousins. With my first, my obsession was about everything being perfect. With my second, it was about my second one not getting the shaft since it wasn't the first. With my third, I entered the "This is probably my last kid and I really don't want to spend any money" zone. With my first, I rejoiced when I got a beautiful, organic, delicate blanket make out of some expensive, exotic fabric. With Jack, I rejoiced when I found a cute blanket for $1.50 in the clearance bin at Target.

I knew, that pretty much, as long as I did what I was supposed to, he was going to be okay. And if he wasn't going to be okay, it was pretty much out of my control anyway (I had some OCD delusions, but we'll save that for another post).

Despite a couple detours: placenta previa and some middle of the road postpartum depression, all went well. I did my best to get over the feeling of being slammed back into babyhood, and enjoyed my moments with him.

But then, some sneaking suspicions began to arise. You have to realize, I had previously only had girls. Sweet, pretty, smart, go-getter girls. Jack, was sweet, cute even with his old-man hair, but not so much a go-getter. Yes, he hit his developmental milestones at the last possible second, but he didn't seem to feel much of a need to strive for anything higher. At six months my girls were practically solving complicated mathmatical equations, Jack was pretty fine with occasionally swatting at a toy, although he would really prefer it if you just handed it to him in the first place. I started to worry. And that opened the door for even more worry. Maybe I shouldn't have taken that ride on the boat during my pregnancy. I must have jiggled his little baby brains too much....

For example, take this picture: Here is Anna, my good friend Sandy's babe. She is six weeks younger than Jack, and SHE IS ALREADY SITTING UP!! And there is Jack, at 6.5 months, not even feeling the slightest need to try.
I tried to have a little conversation with myself, remind myself that it is fine, that all kids don't develop the same, and that I should chill out. But then my obsessive PPD kicked in and I really started to worry.
I went to his check-up, steeled myself, and asked the doc if I should prepare myself.
He tried not to laugh at me. He has known us a long time, seen my eldest from day one. Seen us through stitches, emergencies, and a hospital stay. So he's pretty used to me. He just straight out told me that boys are generally slower. "You girls leave us behind developmentally, and we don't catch up until about high school, although we usually are ahead in math." True for me.
Remember my friend Sandy? Anna is her third as well, a first girl, though. "Honey, I thought my son was developmentally delayed. I took him to the doctor because he sat late, crawled like a crab, and didn't walk until 14 months." Another friend at Laura's preschool worried that her first son might be autistic he was so much slower than her daughter. All of these boys are doing well.
So now, I am just enjoying him. Not pushing, not prodding, just letting him do things his own way. He is not quite sitting yet at 7 months, but a lot of that is due to the fact he wants to stand. I put him in a sitting position and he digs his feet into the ground until he can push up into a standing position. Then he gets this goofy grin on his face that says, "Yeah, you're jealous."
I love that boy. I think this is a good life lesson. I am determined to allow my kids to develop at their own pace, to discover life and their abilities without the pressure of the world or their parents.


  1. I love your blog posts Amy! Xander was all floppy and stuff, and I wondered, worried, too, over these things!!! He's not nearly as agile as Caz was at his age, but he's getting there. I love that he's still baby-ish and not into EVERYTHINg!! :)

  2. Oh Elaine, it's sad, but that makes me feel so much better! I had heard that boys were slower, but I didn't think it could really be that true...haha, joke on me!


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