>My Baby’s Okay, Your Baby’s Okay: On Comparison

>We all do this. If you tell me you don’t and never have, I will know you are a liar! We compare our babies. We hear of milestones reached and wonder if there is something wrong with our bundle of joy. Or junior only poops so often, but the baby next door poops more. Or less. Why? What’s wrong with Junior’s bowels??? I think this is normal. Silly, but normal. Because the ages given for milestones in baby books are just estimates and usually represent a range of age. And all babies are different. My baby sleeps through the night and has since he was 2 weeks old. (This has nothing to do with your post, B, other than it was fresh in my mind, and thus just an example.) He does this not because he is freakishly gifted at sleep. He does this because he is a heavy sleeper and sleeps like a rock. Just like my husband. I, on the other hand, am a light sleeper and wake all night, just like Evan did. This has nothing to do with my parenting skills or my baby’s development. It’s just who we are.

So now on to the other comparison: Mean-Spirited One-upsmanship. (Did I spell that right? Is it even a word???)
Of course with this, I am referring to people who will compare kids just to gloat. To literally feed off of that insecurity that mothers naturally have and pick and pick and pick…..
I heard it the whole time at the family Christmas.
“Zach is so fat. He’s almost bigger than Baby X, and Baby X is 13 months old!”
Same person: “Zach doesn’t sit up without any help yet??? Why, Baby X did that when he was just 5 months old!”
or, “Why doesn’t Zach crawl yet? Baby X did by then.”

But what could make this worse? To be the mom of a preemie. Scratch that–to be the mom of a big preemie. Because Zach looks big. He looks older. But he’s actually younger. Gah!
I bit my tongue everytime something else was said. I finally had had enough. And I went off.
Yes, Zach’s fat! I’m glad. I’m so fricken happy he is. Because you know what? It could’ve been soooooo different. And I have painfully and incessantly hooked myself up to a breastpump every 2 hours for the past almost 8 months to give him the best nutrition possible. And look! It worked!
“And no, Zach may not do all of those things yet. But Zach was almost 2 months premature!!!! Zach is a miracle, and really is only 5 months old. So if you do the math, Zach really is advanced for his age.”

It really was infuriating. Competition over who has the better baby just like who makes more money, has the newest car, lives in the nicest house. Whatever. Get over it. Please do not apply your dysfunction to my offspring. Because my kids are completely normal, and your tactics aren’t going to work on me. But the whole thing just reminded me of how we parents do. We torture ourselves, independent of the one-uppers, without provocation.
Our kids are fine.
As for the mean-spirited one at Christmas? It continued the rest of the night, despite my ignoring. To combat it, I made my own little comparison in my head, silently to myself: “Okay, say what you want, but my kid’s way cuter!”

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2 thoughts on “>My Baby’s Okay, Your Baby’s Okay: On Comparison

  1. >That is essentially what happened to me at Christmas, yet it all had to do with sleep. They bragged that THEIR babies slept through the night early once I revealed that Cole still woke up every two hours. It got under my skin. I think I'm going to take your advice and lie or be really vague in response from now on. It's not like they're going to be able to give me advice that will work. They'll just compare their children to mine (even though their children are fully grown!!!)

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