Apparently I am his stumbling block.

The only thing standing between an aspiring child and his destiny: Parents.

As Joshua slowly approaches his 2nd birthday, there seems to be an unspoken deadline on mastering speech, self-feeding and potty training. Am I stressed about it? Damn right I am.

It probably might not hit me as hard if we are well on our way to Baby #2, or if other parents were so judgmental about my son’s seemingly slow progress. But I’m not betting on it. After all, it is in every Singaporean’s blood to be kiasu.

While I should have no reason to believe that my son is dim-witted, there isn’t much for me to boast about either. At the grand old age of 21 months, he is barely talking and does not seem to be close to completing potty training any time soon. In this competitive society we live in, of course I have my concerns.

Today, I decided it was time for him to venture into the messy dirty world of self-feeding with a spoon.

I made him a bowl of baby cereal, hoping that the sticky gruel would cause less frustration for his virgin attempt. And knowing how I would not be able to withstand the sight of the mess and how he is doing it “all wrong”, I did something I have not done for weeks; I went to mop the rest of the floor where he was not going to mess up with bits of cereal.

As I heard the clink-clank of his plastic spoon against the plastic bowl, I constantly felt an urge to watch his attempt with eagle eyes. But I restrained. I… I knew I had to give him the chance to try.

When I went to pass him his water bottle, I couldn’t help but notice he was probably getting more food onto himself than into his mouth. But hey, he’s not complaining, so why should I? He was obviously having fun and feeling mighty proud that I am now letting him be the “big boy” he always felt he was.

Then it hit me.

The only thing standing between him and his future greatness… is me. Me, and the countless other bystander parents who so enjoy imposing their views and criticisms upon other parents who may actually be great parents without realising it.

Being a parent is not about conforming to “deadlines” for developmental milestones. It is not about constantly boasting about your child’s abilities. It is not about planning every single detail of their lives for them, nor is it about making them do what is “best” for them.

It is about being there to clean up the mess after your learning child, to give a reassuring hug if he fails, and to quietly stand by the side while he explores his destiny.

How many of us had great dreams of being someone famous, only to be told by our parents that we are daydreaming and that we would never make it?

I have to stop this vicious parenting cycle. I have to stop being my child’s stumbling block and to have faith that he can be anything he would want to be.

Right now, it’s only a matter of believing that he can successfully feed himself someday soon. And start talking. And to be able to go pee in the toilet. :mrgreen:


2 thoughts on “Apparently I am his stumbling block.

  1. Babe, don’t worry about the talking. According to my family, I only started properly talking when I was three – and I’ve never stopped since then! (their words not mine)

    shell says: hahaha. Ok. I’ll take your words (or your parents’) and try to relax a bit off his slow speech development. 🙂

  2. eh, then I am really not the normal parents you so aptly described.

    I never worry about them not recognising ABCs and 123s cos I believe schools will teach them

    I never worry if they didnt have (insert-required-item like teething by 8mths or potty trained by 9mths).

    I am so glad I am what you described towards the end of your article.

    And oh, my son still slurs slightly when he talk and while people around me says he may have a ‘short tongue’, I congratulate him when he puts in an effort to pronouce. That, makes him asks me how to pronouce certain words and activities more regularly.

    I never wonder why my kids growth are not on par as the guidelines because I know even if they are slow or not as smart, I will love them still.

    Ok, now I sound like I am boasting. Heh..

    shell says: My issue is not so much his growth, but more of his behaviour. He doesn’t act his age!

    Other than that, I just really want him to start talking soon so there are less problems when we pass him to the in-laws to take care when I go give birth also.

    By the way, you are not really “normal” lor. :mrgreen:

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