Everyone except the cross country team dreaded high school fitness test, mostly because of the mile run. That's because a mile is a far way to go, especially when you're not used to running.
A milestone is just a marker along a road that shows you that you've gone another mile since the last marker; it shows you your progress, and how far you still have to go. In developmental terms, a milestone is a marker as well, showing that a child is attaining important functional skills: sitting up, rolling over, grasping and releasing, tracking, babbling. It's not just about hitting these milestones, though - there is a timeline attached. The idea is for your child to attain a particular milestone at the same time most other children reach it - or, preferably, before. That's because there is an understanding that we can get a picture of our child's brain as they reach milestones. If he sits up 'on time', we feel assured that everything is okay. If she rolls early, we're sure she is advanced. If he doesn't have enough words at the right age, we might feel a little anxious and defensive and try to convince ourselves that it will work itself out. Some of this is silly and externally influenced. Some of it is deep and internal, though.
With all of the focus on hitting milestones on time (or, in our case, ever hitting them at all), it can be easy to forget how miraculous they are. It means that another whole mile is behind us and so every mile ahead will be different now.
But, like I said, when you're not used to running, a mile is a far way to go. And Collin Francis is not a runner at this point. He is the proverbial Tortoise and ultra slow is his pace of choice. There are good and bad sides to this. The bad side is that a mile feels more like a thousand miles at an ultra slow pace. It feels like you will never get there and even though you're going the same distance regardless, it somehow feels more exhausting. The good side is that any pace at all means progress. Also, you see a lot of things at ultra slow pace that you might whiz past otherwise. Being able to savor these mini-milestones is what you might call an unexpected blessing. You kind of forget how close you are to the wrong end of the spectrum of development. Things get a little less linear and a little more organic and you feel almost exempt from other people's timelines.
So, we're starting a new feature here at Collin the Champ, called MOOM - Making Our Own Milestones. We're going to take time to hold up the mini milestones and celebrate them the way they deserve to be celebrated. We've probably actually been observing this tradition for a while but I like to make things official; it means cheesy names and numbered lists.
This week's MOOM:
1. Collin sat in his Bumbo seat unassisted for the first time. Like I said on Twitter, it was brief, but beautiful. There is a different kind of sadness that comes with having baby gear that never gets used. All of my memories of Collin sitting in the Bumbo happened when he was on seizure meds, which meant that he was beside himself with irritability and his head was still flopping straight to his chest. It was like a little dream come true when we squished Collin's booty into that seat and he instinctively held his head up. It was almost weird seeing it wobbling around out in the open air all by itself. (That's a red star sticker on his nose - therapies always overlap here.)
2. Collin bounced in his bouncer chair. This is a very similar MOOM to number one, as it involves forsaken baby gear and unexpected success. His movements were small, but undeniable.
3. Collin rode in the seat of a grocery cart for a first time. I don't know what it was about this one, but it buoyed my spirit like few other things have done. Maybe it was from all of the frustrating trips to the store when I just couldn't do what I needed to do because I had no options. Having him close to my face, smiling and kicking like all the other kids was truly magical.
Numbers 2 and 3 are thanks to our new favorite thing: the HuggaBebe. It basically works by making a Collin sandwich, which gives his trunk the support he needs to be able to focus on holding up his head. Definitely the best $30 I've spent in a long time.
Stay tuned for many MOOMs to come!