My parent side vs my teacher side
There is a constant nonstop fight going on in my brain whenever I start thinking about Bears' development. He was a 34-week preemie, which means his pediatrician tends to look at him more closely as far as developmental aspects go. This is not a bad seeing as catching any type of problem goes, addressing it early is typically beneficial.
When we go to his check-ups, we typically get told the same things. His height and weight are low, barely on the growth chart if at all. They stress that he needs to eat more to gain weight to grow bigger The idea is that it will put him on the growth chart.
The parent part of me panics. I need to push more food on him while still keeping it healthy. I need to try to remove some distractions while he eats so that he focuses more on eating a full meal. All so he can read some line on some chart that the doctor thinks is important.
Yet, the teacher in my sees something different. I know my kid is ingesting enough calories. I make sure what I offer him are nutritionally sound meals that are packed with calories. We offer more than enough snacks throughout the day that he shouldn't be hungry. If he asks for food, he is never denied. EVER! I also know that height wise, he will not be the next Michael Jordan unless he got some recessive genes from my side of the family. Hubby and I close in height. He is on the shorter side for a male and I am average height for a female. Bear will likely fall into similar categories when he stops growing. Additionally, based off of pictures of me growing up I was a very skinny child. If only I had that problem today. Bear could easily be following in my footsteps and just be a skinny kid. What the doctor also failed in the beginning to address was that he was (with one single exception) following the same path or curve as the growth chart. All of this tells me not worry that he is doing just fine.
The next thing they do at the standard check-up is have you fill out a questionnaire about your child. The teacher's brain takes over here. The questions are posed as follows.
"Does your child climb stairs on their own?"
The answers for every question are listed as "sometimes, always, or not yet."
Three options. So I think about it.... We haven't had any stairs at a playground experience because there are none locally for him that are his size except at daycare. Even then I am not around to see what he can and can not do. Also none of the houses (at that time) had any stairs. Not a single one. His exposure to stairs is practically nonexistent. So I answer the question as "not at this time." Now I doubted if given the opportunity he would more than likely not have any issue with going up or down stairs. His gross motor skills are right on target from what I have seen. Yet because that's not what the question asked I answered honestly. I had no first-hand knowledge of my child's ability to use the stairs.
The questions go on and there are just 4-5 questions per developmental area. Social, fine motor, gross motor, verbal and cognitive reasoning are all present in the questions. I answer them all honestly despite knowing what their intent is behind the question.
This is where the teacher in me goes crazy. The intent behind the questions can paint a false picture of my child. Just because he does not "climb stairs" to my knowledge does not mean he is behind in gross motor skills. It's all in how the questions are phrased.
So because the doctor attempts to quickly assess his fine motor skills, which the teacher's brain knows are fine, the parent side of me freaks out. I then make the kid climb up and down every place that has stairs because some silly question made the doctor feel the need to see what he can do.
In another area, my teacher's brain panics worse than the parent side of me. The biggest area is verbal. Bear is 2 years old and despite my best efforts to teach Bear to talk he doesn't. He babbles constantly they just aren't real words. He has great inflection and when you talk to him he can mimic a flow that sound like he is speaking another language. Yet there are very little actual audible words. He barely says, "mama" or "dada". He occasionally says them. He has even said "dadee" (daddy) and even what we thought was clear (mommy). The inconstancy is bothering me. They assume he will catch up over time so no one addresses it except me. I work with him one. I pull out all the tricks I know and all the tricks I can find online, but it just needs to click for him. Technically, he is really on track or at the bare minimum of normal when looking at the 2012 old copy of developmentally appropriate standards that I have. The growth spurts in cognitive and physical ability at this age are tremendous and vary greatly from child to child. Yet, the teacher side of me still feels like he is falling behind. Still feels like something needs to be addressed speech wise.
The parent side is not as concerned. In his own time, I know that it will all click for him and he'll start spitting out words like crazy. Just the way he went from rolling everywhere to walking in a matter of two weeks. He just hasn't hit that point yet. All the efforts on my part, while they aren't hurting, can't make him do something he doesn't want to do.
So here I am consistently torn between the parent side of me and the teacher side of me. I worry about Bears growth and development far more than I probably should be. So as yet another well baby check up quickly approaches I find myself struggling with all of this all over again.