Milestones. These are potentially a dangerous trap for parents. Those overly focused on what their baby should be doing can become acutely aware of when their child has not done something at the time they are supposed to. This can lead to anxiety and stress. Too much focus on milestone achievement can also lead to competitive parenting, especially at a time when pre-kindy achievements can be shared and compared with the click of a button.
I’ve tried to avoid the idea of milestones as much as possible. Obviously, they have their place as a rough guide to expected paths of development. They are used to identify the need for early intervention – something that has been proven to assist in realising positive outcomes later in life. Other than that, milestones to me are something to be enjoyed as they happen, and an opportunity to reflect on how far this amazing human has come in such a short time.
This week Hannah has begun to properly roll. It has been a long time coming – for months she has come tantalisingly close to rolling herself onto her stomach as she attempted to reach toys and objects around her. She was also slowly improving her ability to roll from tummy to back, although these attempts were often hindered by a stray arm that would stop the motion from happening. Emma had recently taken her to the local clinic for her scheduled check-up and there were some concerns that she was not quite at the stage where she was supposed to be. They sent Emma home with a check list and some simple exercises to encourage Hannah to roll.
By the time our second visit came round, we were still not seeing the voluntary movement from back to front or front to back that we were so hoping for. Then, it happened… at the clinic. Emma placed Hannah on the mat in front of the clinic nurse and she diligently proceeded to roll front to back, then back to front. Happily. As if she’d been doing it all her life and she had no idea what all the fuss is about. I’m slightly proud that my daughter seems to have an advanced sense of comedic timing.
Since that moment there has been no stopping Hannah. She rolls with gay abandon, across carpet and tiles, under cots and change tables, and into walls (this one sometimes ends in tears). Combined with her unique back-crawling technique, she is now really quite mobile. It’s amazing to watch that determined little person work her way, with purpose, towards something of interest (usually power points, cords, broken glass, poisonous snakes, lava pits etc.).
I’m sure there will come a time soon where the magic of rolling has worn off and the frustration of wanting to crawl or walk has set in. But, for now at least, I am enjoying watching the exploration and adventure, the first tiny movements down the path towards independence.