I have a friend whose daughter is one day older than Little Miss. I’ve mentioned her before; previously I called her “Bug” because that is her nickname, so “Bug” she shall remain.
It has been incredibly interesting to watch the two girls grow up together. They’ve hit many milestones around the same time, including laughing, crawling, walking, waving, and first words. They’ve ended up with a lot of the same toys because we live in a small town and people shop at the same stores, and along the same lines, they end up with some of the same clothes (or same style, different colour).
Bug and Little Miss have been raised almost as sisters, spending evenings together almost every weekend, and for a few weeks they spent their days together as well, since Bug’s mom watched Little Miss during the transition time between babysitter number one and daycare. They’ve been shopping together, walking downtown together, wandering the pumpkin patch together, in the hospital together (Bug’s mom and I were two doors down from each other while we recovered from the childbirth experience) and out to eat together. They’ve even worn matching dresses (which were purchased in different cities at different times by different people).
But one thing they haven’t done the same or together in any way is teething. Sure, they drooled together, chomped on teething toys together and fussed about sore gums together, but there the similarity ends.
At sixteen and a half months, Bug has a full mouth of teeth – all but her two-year molars. Little Miss, on the other hand, has only four of hers.
So while I’m quartering grapes for my daughter so she can squish them around in her mouth easily before swallowing them, Bug gets whole grapes and chomps down on them, squirting juice out of her mouth and giggling. While Bug is handed practically anything from the dinner table, I have to make sure Little Miss can gum whatever it is I give her. This makes feeding Little Miss frustrating from time to time…and may explain part of why she is small: She can’t eat everything. However, it also means that while Bug’s mom was up countless nights in a row with her, giving Bug Tylenol to help the pain, feeding her teething tablets and massaging her gums, we’ve had a fairly easy time of it so far. Little Miss is teething slowly, meaning we almost don’t notice it’s happening at all.
I have found this to be a valuable lesson in parenting. No matter how similar two children are, they are not the same. They won’t do everything exactly alike, and comparing them with the idea that they should be the same can only lead to stress and fear over my child’s health.
It’s natural for parents to compare their children to others’ children. I know that and I’m not saying it doesn’t have its place. For instance, if several other children your child’s age seem to be leaving yours in the dust, it may be time to ask the pediatrician some questions. Likewise, if your child seems to be leaving several other children his/her age in the dust, you may just have a genius on your hands.
However, I must constantly remind myself that comparing Little Miss to other toddlers such as Bug cannot be considered wise most of the time. She is her own person and will develop at her own rate. For the most part, comparison should be for interest only, not evaluation.
And along that vein, I’m seriously considering going denture shopping for my Little Miss…