I love my son. He is the joy and light of my life. I love watching him learn. Even the annoying things like how to screech a high pitched whine which is this week's big lesson. (Okay, doll. That's learned. Let's move on, mmmkay?)
I also wish we could hit a milestone.
Not even because not hitting them is letting me down. I admit it's a bit disappointing at the time slips away and the milestones don't come. But really, because I feel like I'm letting everyone down all the time.
At least 5 times a week someone asks me with such hope in their voice:
"Is he eating better?"
"How much is he up to now?"
"What's he doing these days?"
And my answers always feel like rejection. No, he's not eating better. He hasn't gained any weight in 2 weeks. (Well, he did. He lost 5 oz and gained it back.) No, he's still chewing like his gums are killing him, but there are no teeth. And he's doing lots of things but none of the major milestones that "regular" families look for.
I try to explain that things are improving. *I* see the gains in small areas. I see him studying things, figuring things out. I see him rolling up on his side even if he won't roll over. I see the lack of spit up. I see the better sleeping and the easy smiles. But these things are hard to explain to the world who only sees the big stuff.
The time is coming that we are going to be released out of house arrest. I expect at his 9 month check up in a couple of weeks, we'll be able to start venturing out somewhere besides a doctor's appointment.
That's so incredibly exciting. But also scary. Because it means more comparisons. More questions that should be simple but just aren't.
The idle "How cute! How old?" turns into a dissertation. "He's 9 months but was 3 months early and has stomach issues so he's really small." Which always leads to more questions and more long answers. All in an effort to avoid the disapproving look that says "Don't you FEED him?" or worse yet "what is WRONG with him?"
And I SHOULDN'T CARE. I shouldn't. And if I felt like they were just looking down on me, it would be fine. But it feels like they're judging HIM.
Frankly, I'm afraid there's going to come a day when my white trash upbringing is going to mingle with my Irish temper and get bolstered by my momma-bear syndrome and I'm going to actually punch someone. You can laugh, but also tuck away some bail money.
So I feel envy. Envy for the super babies who are hitting milestones ON TIME, those who wear 6-9 month clothes when they're ACTUALLY 6-9 months old. Those who can answer "how old" in 3 words or less. Those who complain because formula and baby food is JUST SO EXPENSIVE.
And I kind of hate myself for it.