It's our children's development, that's what.
From the day my daughter was born, I worried about her size. "Is she growing fast enough? Do I need to feed her more?" I questioned as I gazed at my skinny newborn.
As she got older, it wasn't enough just to obsess over her size. Now it's all about "achievements." One of my favorite little pastimes is opening up What to Expect: The First Year and comparing my baby's development with the descriptions of what she "should be able to do," "will probably be able to do," "may possibly be able to do," and "may even be able to do" at her age.
Of course, it's not enough for her to just meet What to Expect's list of what she "should be able to do." Psh. Any ol' baby could do that stuff. She'd better hit most of the "will probably be able to do's" as well. It's pretty exciting if she hits some of the "may possibly be able to do's"...but I really hope she gets at least one of the "may even be able to do's". Then I can feel smug about my naturally brilliant child.
Why do I care so much? My daughter isn't old enough to care about how she measures up to the rest of the pack. She doesn't even realize there is a pack. She probably only understands the universe of Mom and Dad, and all other people just look like space aliens. Why should she care that baby Jaxxon down the street is already rolling over at two months? (Well, at least her name doesn't have two X's in it.)
Obviously, it's my own inadequacies I'm concerned about here.
A spiritually-in-tune Emily would stay out of this whole baby-comparing game. She would just say serenely, "All babies grow and develop at their own rates. My child will catch up in her own due time. As long as I'm paying a little attention to make sure she's healthy and I follow my doctor's recommendations, I don't have anything to worry about."
Psh. What does spiritually-in-tune Emily know? She can go jump off a cliff.
It's a lot easier to listen to crazy-paranoid Emily, who says things like, "If my baby isn't measuring up to all the other babies, I must be a bad mother! I'm not encouraging her development enough! I'm not giving her enough attention! I'm going to retard her progress and lower her IQ and she's going to be flipping burgers all her life!"
Yeah. Crazy-paranoid Emily totally knows where it's at.
(I wonder if there's a happy-medium Emily that exists somewhere.)
The really insane part is that I convince myself that all of this matters. As if grown adults ever brag to each other about how old they were when they started rolling over. Developing quickly as a baby is not a sign of success in this world. I'm sure there are plenty of adult geniuses who developed "slowly" according to What to Expect, and nobody gives a rat's heinie.
Clearly, I don't have enough things to obsess about. Maybe I should start watching soap operas.