Motherhood does strange things to you. Like giving you almost superhuman powers when it comes to smelling your baby’s poop in a room full of babies. It also does things to other people – people you may or may not know – it somehow makes them believe that they have the right to say things to you that they wouldn’t otherwise. This post is for people who think they can judge my ability to be a parent by the size of my baby.
My daughter is petite – I mean still fitting in 9 month clothing at 15 months petite. Neither her father nor I are tall, and neither are we big in any sense of the term. She’s small- was born small and will probably stay in the low end of the charts. The important thing is she’s a healthy, happy baby who’s had no trouble meeting her milestones despite her diminutive size (Whoa! Is that even possible?!). Might I add that her pediatrician isn’t worried about her growth- she’s a small baby, it’s as simple as that.
However, some people have taken it upon themselves to remind me how small she is every time they see her. Sometimes they even make comments like ‘Have you talked to the doctor about her? I don’t think she’s growing’ or ‘You need to work harder. My child was small too but I made sure he/she ate well and got his/her massages 3 times a day’ or even ‘Do you give her snacks only or does she eat proper meals’? To you, these passing remarks may be just that. You probably forgot about it 5 minutes later. What you don’t know is that I worry about her not eating enough already and comments like these cause me nights of sleeplessness and concern for the well being of my daughter. It made me doubt everything I’ve done so far as a parent and all the decisions I’ve made for her. Am I letting her snack too much? Too little? Do the daycare teachers try hard enough to feed her lunch? And even, Should I quit my job so I can focus on raising my daughter? It took me 6 days and nights to get over your comments. 6 days and nights where I could have focused on other, more positive things in my life.
But sanity prevailed and I realized that I cannot always run after my daughter with a spoon in hand. She has to learn to eat on her own and recognize when she’s full just as much she needs to recognize when she’s hungry. And guess what, she will eat just enough so she’s not uncomfortable from me overfeeding her because ‘other’ kids her age eat more than her. I had to remind myself that she’s doing fine- you know, despite ‘not growing’ in your opinion.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned on this journey of parenthood it’s this- every child is different. I know I know- we’ve all heard it, read it, said it a million times. But you know what? It’s true.
So don’t judge my child against yours or anyone else’s. I’m sure you did the best you could with yours – as I am with mine.
Neha Singh (nee Sah) was born and raised in India and moved to the Northern Nevada area when she married her husband. Comparing and contrasting the two cultures she has lived in is something Neha has enjoyed these last few years, but assimilation wasn’t as hard as some would think (thanks Hollywood!) She and her husband welcomed a daughter in their lives in August 2014 and watching her grow and learn has been the single greatest joy of Neha’s life. She is very grateful for the life she has lived so far and the family and friends that have made it so. She is a manager at a distribution company, loves hanging out with her family, which includes her dog, reading, and writing about her experiences.