First thing I want to say is, this isn’t a “hater” blog post towards Health Visitors at all! They do a great job, however the appointments for me personally, just make me darn right anxious, make me second guess everything that I am doing and just give me the wobbles!
We recently had our year check. Long story short…we were forgotten about, so by the time we got sent our 9 forms and the appointment was scheduled in he was 11 months. Not a great start.
Now, I am very laid back about his development. I don’t rush him, I don’t make him do things he doesn’t want to do. or is not ready to do, he is a baby after all and ALL babies are different. I trust in his natural ability and he is coming on in his own little way. He is a cautious Annie, takes his time but when he does it, he does properly. I wasn’t worried, I’ve always thought I will only worry when he is 4, starting school; moving and sounding like a stranded seal that can still only eat soup. Before that I will go with the flow. By the end of my appointment I was worried and felt like a shit Mum!
So, the forms have things like; can he bend down and pick a toy up…No chance. Is he standing with the aid of furniture but not leaning….Ha, definitely not! Can he pick up a cheerio with his index finger and thumb…er, similar looking things so yes, can he say certain “words”….Erm, He makes sounds like Dada, but has NOO concept of what he is actually saying everything is Dada! He moves in a circle but never really off the spot.
The appointment was at our local village hall, with 2 other Mums having their appointments. So three of us to be publicly named and shamed. For the record, I really like my HV, she is friendly and sweet and was supportive when I was at my lowest when I first had Maddox.
So we have to go through a new form for 1 year olds, which is fine but the things they ask…I have no idea as we haven’t given them ago as I hadn’t seen the form to prepare (see I sound neurotic already). So, at the end we have established his fine motor skills are really good, his gross motor skills are rubbish and scored a big fat 0. Que..Feel a Failure for pushing him enough or encouraging him more.
They have a knack of asking questions; Can he do this? Can he do that? All of the bloody things I’ve never tried. For example…Can he scribble? Now, we play with him all the time, we read pretty much daily, he “wears” paint when he has been at the chidminders. I have NO idea if he can scribble, I’ve not even tried him with a pen for a few reasons 1) I’ve never even thought about it 2) He may well poke an eye out 3) He may well eat it 4) He will miss the paper and draw on my cream rug 5) By the time I’ve got him in the high chair, the only thing he will want to do with the drawing implement, will be to drop it on the floor and get bored in 3 minutes. Que…Feel a Failure for missing out this creative development step.
Next questions…food. I have been quite happily going along following books such as Annabel Karmel and Ella’s Kitchen as a guide. I have NEVER taught a human to eat and chew, especially ones with no teeth and cant communicate with you. So I needed some help, I personally didn’t feel that comfortable giving him a large lumps of food and when we did try, he would poke it and just wasn’t bothered (I was feeding him pouches that were for 10-12 months, so it wasn’t soup). I want to keep eating times calm and fun, not forcing carrots into his gummy mouth. At this point he now had some teeth coming through and finally starting holding bananas and feeding himself…I was chuffed. I had started asking around friends for ideas on what I can start giving him…I was on the case!
Any hoe, our HV asked if I had given him different foods like bread, rice cakes ,I hadn’t but our reason is we want to keep it a natural as possible, whats wrong with that? I wasn’t being anal or judging what other gives their babies. For us it is important for this first year to give wholesome food with not much human intervention. It was however when she asked if I had given him……wait for it….a CHICKEN LEG?! Er, no…bones+tiny throat+no teeth=googling in record time how to deal with a choking baby. When I had said no, her face looked nothing but disappointment and disbelief that I hadn’t tried him on a animal carcass yet. Que….Feel a Failure for giving him enough types of food.
It was also the comment…”If you miss the window of him eating solid food, you may end up with a 2 year old still eating baby food”Que…..Feel a Failure for just being crap at this motherhood thing.
It was at this point I cried and mumbled through tears “I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing” Classy. Hiding behind my hair, I see Maddox’s’ little face trying to see what is Mama is doing. SOB. A fellow Mum hands me a tissue. Que…Feel a Failure for not keeping my shit together.
HV and lovely Mum tell me I’m doing a good job. I thought I was doing a pretty good job as a rookie. However when someone (a professional), looks at you in such a way that shouts …”What the f**k have you been doing with him all this time”, and you feel like every questions she starts with “Have you…” and your answer is always no…you end up feeling really crappy!!
The result…she is coming again in August, this time at home! I will let you know how it goes!
Since then….bloody typically….he moves now, I have no idea how, but he can edge himself closer to things slowly. He is starting to pull his bum off the floor a bit. He now eats an array of finger food; including pitta bread but not including chicken leg! I’m happy with this progress!
These HV appointments do give me the wobbles, they make me second guess everything, make me doubt myself, they make me uber sensitive to any criticism. That is not there intention, I know that. They are there to make sure all is going well, but how can every child be assessed by the same standards?
I have come to realise to take these appointments with a pinch of salt, nobody knows your child like you do and although you may doubt yourself most days, you do know whats best! I promise!