By the time I post this I will be fine, HONEST
At Emma's nine month appointment in June, the doctor and I had a frank discussion re: the baby's notable lack of forward motion. Or any motion, really. She still hadn't rolled over at 9 months. She sat, happy and content, and when she was done sitting she hollered for someone to come get her. (Which we did. Nobody is a fan of the hollering.)
Neither of us were particularly concerned. Anyone who has met or held Emma can vouch for her, ah, muscle tone. That said, the doctor gave me a referral for a birth to three program (or Thrive by Five? one of those things) and a few weeks later I called them up. They would send a therapist out, for free, to my house, to evaluate my baby and let me know if I needed to Officially Worry or just be wry and self-deprecating on my blog. It actually sounded fun. Or at least Neat and Interesting.
The appointment is tomorrow afternoon. And up until, oh, two-ish days ago I was fine. Now I'm Officially Worried in advance.
So far I've been telling myself that I've done this before. With Jack it was speech. The doctor (this same doctor, actually) told me that he needed at least a FEW words by 14 months, otherwise I should take him in and get him evaluated. (I did not do this.) I don't remember when he really started talking, but it wasn't long after that, and now I wish he would just shut up once in a while.
With Molly it was walking. She never crawled, but by Emma's age she was doing a modified cheerleader-style scoot on her bottom. Phillip and I were both fairly certain she was CAPABLE of walking, she just didn't WANT to, and this was perfectly in character. She started walking at 16 months, but only because my parents (totally sick of her enabling parents, I'm sure) put her through a bit of walking boot camp one afternoon and after an hour or so Jack was chasing her around the house.
This is mostly how I feel about Emma. This whole time I've been feeling like she just doesn't FEEL like rolling or scooting or crawling or pulling up. It's not a stubborn thing, like Molly, but kind of a motivation thing? She doesn't really care? And whatever, I sort of PREFER not to have to worry about her pitching herself down the stairs.
Until, like I said, just the last few days. The last few days I'm suddenly feeling tremendously guilty and upset about it. I'm combing through all the things I've done with her - swaddling her for so long, still giving her a bottle at night, never letting her cry it out, I don't think I've even had someone else put her to bed besides Phillip. All these things have been TOTALLY FINE with me, things that even if other people found questionable I DIDN'T CARE - now they all feel WRONG.
Today really took all that to a breaking point, and the breaking point was in the car on the way home from VBS.
By the time we had to pick up the older kids, Emma was pretty fussy. I thought it was just the no-big-kids (weird for both of us) or getting in the car again, but then she fell asleep! Instantly! Which almost never happens. And it was noon and she hadn't had lunch and I was going to have to get her OUT of the car to get the other kids - this is when I started feeling horrible.
Because what if NOON is when Emma wants to take her nap? Follow me on this train of thought, won't you? What if Emma would like to nap at NOON, but has NEVER napped at noon, because we are always picking someone up from preschool at noon AND/OR the big kids don't do quiet time until one and I am always in pursuit of the Coordinated Rest Time. What if those crappy one hour afternoon naps and even crappier nighttime sleeps were because her whole life I've put her on the big kids' schedule, put all the pick ups and drop offs before HER needs. What if things have been so hard because I'VE BEEN DOING EVERYTHING ALL WRONG?!?!
So, according to me, she is not crawling because I spoil her, and she's not sleeping because I don't put her first. And this is why I was doing the Silent Cry in the car and no one was allowed to talk to me until we got home.* I put Emma to bed without lunch (she went back to sleep right away), fed the big kids, and fretted fretted fretted. It didn't matter that she woke up a bit earlier than usual, or it was just a weird day, or any other dozen explanations - I could not get out of my Terrible Mother Tunnel Vision.
Our weekend with friends/joint couples' therapy session is coming up and I've been summarizing my year in my head when I have time. What will I say? How will I describe the addition of this third kid? I will say: it's the schedule. It's the combining of adult and preschool and baby schedules. Everyone - EVERYONE- said that the third baby just blends in and goes along with everyone else, and Emma HAS, but maybe that hasn't been GOOD. Maybe if I'd paid more or better attention, things would have been/would be easier. I've felt awful dragging her along to all our THINGS, I felt AWFUL waking her up in the car to get Jack and Molly. I felt like a HORRIBLE MOTHER.
And I keep imagining what this therapist is going to say to me. "You don't let her figure anything out on her own. You never put her on her tummy. You don't try new things with her. You swaddled her too long. You don't play with her right. You don't play with her at all. Didn't you learn ANYTHING by your third kid?"
And I will stand there meekly and say, "But she's happy? And I tried. I really did try."
*Alternate explanation: PMS (BLARGH)