A Funny Thing Happened in North Carolina

One of the biggest worries that I’ve had for the past three months is that Chase wasn’t babbling. Trust me, when you become a mom not only do you become competitive about everything from teething to eating and sleeping habits to fingernail growth, but you also become an obsessive worrier. Thank about it, your parents still probably worry about you today, don’t they? But I am not the most “on top of it” mom. I don’t read the books like I should and I feel to some extent that ignorance is bliss, so I try to avoid knowing all of the milestones and just playing it by ear. When I was told that babbling was one of THE THINGS a 7 or 8 or 9 month old should be doing, I still kind of brushed it off. Then when a friend with a baby a day younger than Chase said, “whatever you do, don’t google ‘a baby that doesn’t babble at 8 months,’” I started to worry.

That’s the other thing about becoming a mom. There is a lot of information on the internet. An infinite amount actually. The majority of that information has no source, no bibliography, no sense and no basis. A lot of it is written by ordinary people, like you and me. What most of us fail to realize (or remember) when we are looking to the internet for information is that people are stupid. Yet, we fall for it time and time again. So I googled it. That led to articles about autism, developmental delays and ultra super moms who claimed their children were babbling in the womb. Awesome.

I reassured myself about it all. Chase is way too interested in moving around. He army crawls around the house, wants to always be “walking,” has started cruising recently, and active babies don’t necessarily communicate when they should. His father didn’t say a word until he was one. He was six weeks early, so if he isn’t babbling by x amount of months, then I will really worry. And so on and so on.

I tried to forget everything that I read and knew that the pediatrician would have the solution. We were about to visit her for Chase’s 9 month checkup. When the same friend who told me not to google anything gave me a promising update from her pediatrician, I felt even more confident going to my doctor. After all Chase makes a ton of noises and coos and oohs and aahs and his pediatrician is super laid back and is always happy with the progress he has made thus far. When we went into his appointment all smiley and happy and she went through her list of questions and we answered “yes” to all of them, I started feeling really cocky. When she got to “And does he babble? You know, ‘mama,’ ‘dada,’ anything like that?” and we said “no, not yet,” and she said, “Really? Nothing?” I really started to feel like we were actually in trouble. Then she did the whole, “well you know, he’s really like a 7 ½ month old baby” routine and I got really disheartened. She had previously told us that he was all caught up, and I wasn’t used to going in the opposite direction. I just knew she would brush it off, so I started to get depressed when she went that route.

That was on Tuesday. Yesterday we were in North Carolina visiting my grandparents and Chase was crawling over to me on the floor when I moved away and he got frustrated and started to cry. At the end of the wail, I swore I heard a “ma.” Nah. But I tested him and put him down to crawl and then moved away a little bit. He started to cry and this time I heard him clearly, “MAMAMAMAMA!!!!!!” inside of his cry. Hallelujah! By the time he woke up from his nap he was “mamamama” a lot. Then by the end of the day there was even some “bababababa” and “gagagaga,” even “rararara.” The funny part? All of the stupid books that I started reading when the babbling wasn’t happening basically say, “don’t expect them to say mama first, they all say dada.” Aunts and well meaning strangers have told me, “well you know, he’ll say dada first.” So I didn’t even practice “mama” with him, I tried everything else. And that adorable, wonderful, perfect child said “mama” first. As if I couldn’t love him even more.

Hold tight. I’ll have something new to worry about tomorrow, don’t you worry!

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