Keeping up with the jones’
Benchmarks are dangerous, fictitious, unachievable standards, set by an alien race whom are trying to bring us undone and take over our planet.
I am sure of it.
And while bench marks are evil in so many parts of our life…
The pure horrendous, soul shattering, life destroying benchmarks are those we fire at babies… Or even more so, their weak, vulnerable mothers ( and fathers!)
The fact that it is often other mummies doing the dirty work to bring down the defeated, sleep deprived parent… Like a lion pouncing on the slowest, limpest member of the deer pack, just makes benchmarks all the more an ugly, torrid affair. And further indicates that they have been the brain child of afore mentioned alien race whom clearly is trying to wipe us out from The roots up… Stop the care takers and plunder any hope for population growth… It will leave the remainder as easy pickings… Bahahahahaha… In fact… It will also scar those that survive because their entire life will now be etched out on an impossible map of the unachievable.
And thus it is…
As my teeeeny tiny baby boy is approaching his third birthday I sit back and review the countless hours I have spent wasted… worrying about stupid bench marks. The funds given to unnecessary doctors appointments, the lotions, potions and medicines, the grey hairs, the wrinkles and the stomach ulcers, the squillion late nights spent basking in the flickering radiation of my computer screen as I desperately read pages grappling for some sense that he has reached some bench mark or another… All this pain, all this stress, all this waste… all a side effect of the benchmark. Time wasted worrying he isn’t up to scratch when in reality I should have just been enjoying his company because somehow, I will wake up next week and he will be THREE! 3!! Seriously… Not that tiny, helpless, wriggling little bundle I brought home three seconds ago… But a sassy, confident, egocentric, talkaholic with the most whacky imagination…
He can climb into his own car seat…
Occasionally use his own cutlery ( if and when he is choosing to eat today)
Climb in and sleep in his own big bed… Without guidance rails!
Laugh at my attempts to sit him on the potty and correct me that no, poop goes in a nappy and can he have a fresh bum please.
He can demand ice cream for three meals a day and throw an epic tantrum, publicly, if said request is denied.
My tiny, helpless, crying, screaming, wriggly little baby is suddenly an independent headstrong, self righteous threenager.
A three year old who DID NOT meet his growth bench marks from the day one…
Did not meet his feeding benchmarks.
Nor his sleeping bench marks.
Did not crawl until far too late and thought walking was for suckers… So gave that benchmark a miss also.
Did not have baby soft skin
Did not like to throw and catch balls
Did not hug teddy bears
Decided the clapping benchmark was over rated… As was the pincer grip and waving.
Clearly the benchmark of singing songs was also best avoided
And the big one. Talking.
Oh that’s right.
My mr chatterbox,.. Who does not ever shut up, did not talk until well after the age of two,
Twenty words at 24 months. I think not.
And while he happily smiled internally knowing he was driving his mum slowly and inevitably more bat shit crazy I fell down the whirl pool of bench mark envy…
What, your child is 6 weeks old and speaks 7 languages already? Oh no! I am clearly a failure!!! ( insert countless days of. Mummy self loathing and hating myself and beating myself up for clearly not spending enough time developing his language skills)
Your child was potty trained before you left hospital?? Good god! What am I doing wrong!
( insert hours of self hate and self doubt and nights thinking he may be better off without me as clearly I am flawed as his mentor)
Your child eats every single vegetable and asks for Brussel sprouts as a snack??
Ok… Your kid is a freak!
I fell for it.
I wasted days, nights, weeks… Stressing about my tiny little micro man.
I spent hours blaming myself, hating myself. Wondering what was wrong with me that somehow, he hadn’t “bench marked” and wasn’t perfect.
Stressing he wasn’t perfect and all because some moron at some point put a number in some book.
But do you know what….
That tiny little baby, who had the community nurse on our door stop every day for nearly the first month of life now stands at over a metre tall and breached the WHO growth charts before he was aged one… ( but now am I to worry that he is in fact a freakish giant because he has superseded the bench mark?!)
That roly, poly little chubba chunka who never wanted to even crawl… Well, now could be an Olympic sprinter because I sure as poop can’t keep up with him…
Forget me struggling to reach my 10,000 steps a day on my bench mark prison bracelet… I reckon if I chucked that fit bit on him we would be tracking well over 20 000 fast paced action steps.
That lazy little bubba who stared blankly at months of valiant attempts to wave and clap… Now walks into a room, claps his hands, to get people’s attention and with a melodramatic wave for effect announces to the world and anyone who’s listening… “Hello people, (micro man) has arrived.”
Words that would not come…
That were buried under a bench mark of steel weight proportions.
Words that sprouted more grey hairs with bench mark worry than their are even words in the dictionary…
Well… Those words are coming.
They are coming fast and flowing and in a beautiful, nonsensical three year old imaginative way.
I have wasted so long chasing benchmarks that weighed me down with fear.
I have questioned my sanity
I have questioned my ability
I have questioned my perfect little micro man.
The only failure in all the benchmarks unreached was that I listened. That I sat there and listened to the daggers, often thrust by other mummies, and I believed them. I hung my head in shame, I called doctors I researched like a kid before an exam… I didn’t stand up and say screw your bench mark. My kid is perfect. Perfectly him and developing at the perfect rate for him.
He might not meet the number in the book but he is doing everything he is supposed to do at exactly when he is supposed to do it. He is perfect at being himself.
And as there has never been a him before him, then of course there will never be a book with the right “bench marks” for him.
I am the only failure here. I failed my micro man for not being his voice to declare his perfection against the tyranny of bench mark nay Sayers.
Well it’s time to stop.
It’s time for this mumma to learn to shun the benchmark world and instead to listen to the crazy ramblings of her three year old.
Her three year old who thinks food is purely for sculpting onto one’s finger and performing shadow puppet plays.
And you know what. I reckon he may be right.
( if you’ve ever been brave enough to have my cooking, you also would probably agree)
It’s time for this mumma to focus on the real bench marks… The ones that say hey… I might be a late walker, I might be a late talker but I am perfectly normal and I am perfectly me.
My micro man DID throw epic tantrums not only on cue of the benchmarks… But he is so flipping advanced he threw them early. I can therefore only conclude that he is “emotionally advanced”.
He discovered self expression light years before the famous artists… Even if his choice of medium ( poop) was thoroughly questionable. I can therefore declare that he is “creatively gifted”.
He developed insanely advanced gross motor skills and can climb to the top of the craziest places. Ergo we are certain he is “physically ingenious”.
And his body awareness is amazing… Primarily due to the injuries sustained to nearly every body part during his efforts to jump or climb down. From afore mentioned heights. Thus he is “personally sagacious”
My little micro man is perfect.
Some days he acts 3 years old, some days 33 and some days three minutes old… But every day he fills my world with sunshine, laughter and new experiences and I know I wouldn’t want him any other way.
And don’t even start me on the glowing perfection that is miss z… That’s a whole other blog…
It’s taken me three years,
But maybe my clever little guy is teaching me far more every day than I could ever hope to teach him.
May the benches in your world be unmarked and purely for sitting on…
Wherever this finds you.