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.)

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