Boys Aren't 'Slower' Than Girls, They're Just Different

People always say not to compare your babies to help avoid sibling rivalry. But when your babies are born 18 months apart, it is sort of impossible. Every move my younger child (my son) made was immediately compared to his sister who was just 18 months ahead of him. And my poor boy did not fare as well.

Through every milestone except talking, my boy was slower. He pulled up a month later, grabbed things weeks later, walked months later and is now potty training 18 months later and counting. People say boys develop slower than girls, but I had always believed that to be one of those things "they" tell new parents. But in our case, it has been so true.

Alan, my sweet and curious and gentle little boy, has done everything just a bit behind his sister.


She learned to read at 3 and he, at 3.5, still does not know all of his letters. She learned to go in the big girl potty on her own at 2 and he is now 3.5 with no signs of going. The fact is, I would be remiss not to mention or notice it. But it isn't because he is slow. It is because he isn't interested.

Alan can take a car apart and put it back together in five minutes flat. My daughter has no interest. Alan can focus in on a book about tractors and be occupied by photos for an hour. My daughter has no interest. They are different children and this fact means they develop differently, too.

It is not better or worse and it does not make me love one more than the other, but it is a factor and something I notice. The thing is, in the end, I don't think it is so much a boy girl thing as it is an individual thing. A person could have five girls and at least one of them would develop slower, right?

All babies develop at different rates. Larger babies might hit their physical milestones later. My son, for instance, has a 99th percentile head, so it was harder for him to balance. Of course he was going to hit those milestones -- rolling over, crawling, walking -- a little later than my uber petite daughter.

Meanwhile, my son had more people talking to him because of his chatterbox sister, so he actually hit the talking milestone a little earlier. By age 2, he was carrying on complete conversations, which is the complete opposite of what people told me would happen ("he will talk soooo much later," they all said). The fact is, boys and girls -- and babies in general -- all have their own timeline and there is no one right way to be.

Of course, it would be much nicer to have a potty trained son. But that's a whole different issue.

Did your boy develop slower than your girl?

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