When will we stop comparing our children to others, or measuring them up against something we were told or something we read online? I know it's nearly impossible to disregard it when your child seems to be falling behind the pack; if they're all gums while your friends' kids have teeth, or when their first birthday has passed and they haven't taken a single step yet, or when they should be saying 20 words and they're only saying three with any certainty whatsoever. It's hard not to feel less than, or as though you must not be doing something right - that maybe you're not investing enough time, maybe you're letting them watch too much TV just so that you can make dinner or unload the dishwasher or take two weeks' worth of trash to the end of the driveway - but it needs to be said that you are good enough. You are more than enough, in fact. You as a parent offer your children everything they need, and I guarantee they do not care whether you're still in your pyjamas at 4 o'clock or that the fridge needs to be cleaned out before some of those tupperware containers grow fangs and bite you.
I just don't think we as parents are apt to give ourselves quite enough credit; or to remember that our babies are developing at their own rate, regardless of what skills come before others. Their brains are constantly working, growing and changing; and I know I'm one of many to sit there and pore over what might possibly be coming next, because Margot wasn't rolling on time, sitting up, or walking before any of the other babies her age.
The thing is, though, it's imperative that we not get wrapped up in what we think our kids should be doing while we worry over all the things that they're not doing. Remember what a miracle your child is - and how fascinating it is to watch them grow and develop, regardless of what's happening with other kids their age. Remember that you're floating in a magic learning bubble right alongside them. And remember that at your most exasperated, when your baby or your toddler has been acting at their absolute worst, not sleeping, not listening, and throwing fits left and right, it's not unlikely that their brains are going through a major developmental leap. Being a baby is HARD, am I right?! Give that kid some slack.
I don't think any of us are alone in admitting that when a point in time passes by and a particular milestone hasn't been hit, we're suddenly investing all our power into willing our children to hit another stage of development via telekinesis. It so happens that my daughter didn't take her first unassisted steps until she was 16 months old - but I knew why: she was busy mastering language. I'm not exaggerating when I say she was able to count to 10 in English and French before she was walking. And yet... within the past few weeks alone I've witnessed her stick a thermometer into a tower fan (and walk around with its tiny battery in her mouth, unbeknownst to me until she spat it out), toss her shoes in the garbage, because "garbage!", and eat a crayon while saying, "Mmmmm! Yum!" She's a toddler. She doesn't listen, she throws tantrums, she plays with the cat food when I'm not looking, and last night she pooped in the tub. And it's all okay. I'm okay, she's okay.
Your baby is not my baby, and my baby is not somebody else's baby. Trust yourself and your instincts, and remember that that sweet little baby of yours is developing at his or her own rate, and you need not feel intimidated by what's going on outside of your bubble. Especially if you're busy cleaning up poop from inside it. I know all about it.