One of the biggest mistakes I’ve done since becoming a mother for the second time is to compare my two daughters.
It started with Robin’s pregnancy. I couldn’t help but compare it to the one I had had with Maia. I went on about how my first pregnancy was a walk in the park compared to the second one, how much slower and bigger I was with Robin, how useless I felt this time as opposed to how strong and positive I had been carrying Maia…the list went on and on. Unfortunately, I fell into the trap of comparing the two girls’ milestones as well. As we all know, no two children are the same, much in the same way that no two pregnancies are the same. I knew that, so why did I keep expecting Robin to ‘match up’ to her sister?
In many ways, Robin was and still is an easier baby than her sister. She’s a better sleeper, a better eater and generally more easy-going. All this, however, has little to do with my girls and has everything to do with me. I was a nervous wreck with Maia. I was alone (especially emotionally), scared, nervous, overprotective and tried to overcompensate for the lack of a father in her life. With Robin I was more relaxed, happily married, more mature and generally better able to handle the wild mood swings that follow childbirth. It is no surprise that most second (and subsequent) babies are calmer. A calm mother = a calm baby.
All this brings me to the one thing I was still worrying myself sick over until recently: Robin’s speech. Allow me to compare my two girls, just for the sake of illustrating my point. Maia said her first words at 8 months. By the time she was 11 months old her vocabulary consisted of seven words. By the time she was Robin’s age (21 months), she could string words together and knew the alphabet (more or less), the colours and could count to ten in Maltese, English, Greek and Spanish. In hindsight, she was verbally advanced for her age but only now do I realise that that was not the norm. Robin has recently started saying more words but is nowhere near as advanced as Maia was at her age. She can now say the following words (I’m not including the pronunciation of each word, for brevity’s sake):
mama’ | papa’ | Maia | nanna | nannu | Mikela, Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse (all pronounced mahma) | yes | no | go | move | water | Lola (wowa) | more | car | moon | ball, balloon, anything round (baboom) | cheese | Jesus (!!) | mouth | teeth | nose | eyes | hair | hat | gaga (dummy) | book | numnum (food) | baby | banana (baba) | bye | brava
I’m sure I’m missing some more but just writing a list of more than 5 words makes me happy. There is slow but steady progress going on here. What’s most important is that she understands everything (even complex orders) and she is (finally!) trying to repeat words she hears.
I know now that I’m not worried anymore about whether she will talk or not. I know it’s only a matter of time. In the meantime, I’m doing my best to enjoy these couple of years of not being contradicted or interrupted every four seconds, at least by one of my daughters.