Off the Charts


Photo by Jason Storch

I used to laugh at milestone charts. Such a source of needless worry and pointless competition! EVERYBODY knows that kids develop at their own rate and do things when they're ready!

Thus sayeth the mother whose baby always did everything right when the charts said he should, if not before. 

Once your kid starts falling off the milestone charts, it's a little different. OF COURSE you worry. OF COURSE you start maybe eyeballing kids at the playground while trying to guess their age and innocently find out just how long they've been climbing ladders or talking in sentences like that. 

Stupid show-offy kid.

When I brought Noah to his first big school district evaluation, I remember staring at a large poster on the wall. It was a pretty comprehensive birth-to-three-years milestone chart, which I found kind of odd, considering kids wouldn't be coming to this office until their third birthday. What was the point of that poster? "Behold, parents! All the stuff you missed! All the stuff that brought you here! A greatest hits collection of all your favorite developmental hiccups!"

Stupid chart.

I recently clicked over to some parenting website that I'd apparently signed up for an account with at some point, complete with my sons' names and birthdays. I'm quite sure I haven't visited it in ages, but my computer remembered my log-in and I was smacked in the face with a cheery customized greeting: Welcome Back, Amy! Noah can do which of the following...

The quiz that followed included a bunch of fine-motor milestones, all standard preschooler skills, presumably ranked in a bare-minimum to advanced-skill sort of thing. I don't know for sure, because Noah still can't do any of them. Because he's delayed. Which I know already. But thanks, parenting website, for that reminder. Now pony up that article on diaper rash I wanted and get that quiz out of my face.

Stupid annoying show-offy widget-happy website.

And yet...the next page loaded a quiz for my younger son. I tried to ignore it...but couldn't.  I still had to look. Okay. He's doing all of that stuff. Okay. Good. Whatever. Pfft. Who cares.

Oh, stupid chart. I wish I could quit you.

(Though for the record, I refused to actually check any of the clickable boxes on the quiz, because BITE ME.)

development & growth, developmental delays, language, learning, milestones

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nonmember avatar AmandaG

"Oh, stupid chart. I wish I could quit you." Bwahahaha!!!

nonmember avatar cagey

I have no clue how my #2 is doing in relation to The Holy Chart. I paid a scant bit of attention for the first 12 months, but after that figured if she had managed to survive that long, she was good to go. She is 2.5 now and just the other day, I noticed she had finished getting all of her molars. Huh. Wonder when that happened?

toria... toriandgrace

Mine is developmentally delayed as well. Our lives became much more manageable when I pitched the "What to Expect During the First Year" and "What to Expect During the Toddler Years" books. She's four now, and only at a 2.5 year old level for fine and gross motor skills, and probably a 3 year old level for speech. Evaluations still suck, but hey it's better than when she started in therapy at 10 months and wasn't solid at a 0-2 month level.

nonmember avatar Mouse

My son generally managed to hit milestones, but some of them just barely and others in ways that didn't seem quite right. (His five-word sentences were quotes from Thomas DVDs, but used in appropriate context, so we were told that counts.) I haven't pulled them out for our second son yet and am trying to hold off so I don't start obsessing already.

nonmember avatar Damselfly

Sigh. I get it. My 3.5-year-old son supposedly has the fine motor skills of a 14-month-old. He can't pedal a tricycle. And he's still not potty trained. I believe all kids develop at their own pace, but still, I get the feeling some people are looking at me like I'm the reason for my son's "problems."

nonmember avatar Katy

My son has CP and I gave up on the charts when he turned a year. Before that, I read them obsessively. Now, well, we're making our own chart, dammit!

nonmember avatar bo-peep

yeah. sigh. bloody charts. what exactly are they designed to achieve (other than smugness in the "winners" and anxiety in the "losers")?

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