Is it my fault?

This post is inspired by ‘The Prompt,’ a fantastic idea by the lovely MumturnedMom. This week’s prompt is the following quote:

“Guilt to motherhood is likes Grapes to Wine”

This seems to describe my life quite well as we have a few worries with Monkey at the moment -Shyness, Fussy Eating and Lack of Speech. With each of these three things, I keep asking myself, is it my fault? Have I encouraged these behaviours? Am I not doing a good enough job? I feel guilty that potentially decisions I have made over the past 19/20 months have led to these attributes.

Is he shy because he is with me all the time? Would he be more social if he was at nursery? Or would that make the shyness worse? We go to toddler groups and on play-dates every week. He spends time with people other than me every day most weeks. We see both sets of Grandparents every week, he has 4 doting uncles who he sees regularly. We go to play-centres and baby cafes. He mixes regularly with children older than him, younger than him and the same age, and yet he is terrified of strangers, hates me to leave him, even for a second (though he is usually ok with daddy or grandparents) and even sometimes gets scared of other toddlers who he sees regularly. Is it just his nature or is he picking something up from me?

The fussy eating particularly does my head in. I worked so hard in the first year of his life to make sure he ate a huge variety of food and he loved most things! Not everything but nearly. Then 13 months came round and boom, no more pasta. No more broccoli, or really much fresh fruit or veg at all. The list goes on. I have read repeatedly that fussy eaters aren’t born, but that they are created by their parents. My question to this is, HOW? If it is my fault how did I do it? Where did I go wrong?? As the problem has got worse I know there has been times I have exacerbated it by being stressed and putting pressure on him. I know that and am trying very hard to remove those aspects from mealtimes in a bid to help this fussiness. But where did it come from in the first place? Where did I go wrong?

I also worry hugely about the lack of speech. I am terrified of the fact that he may not be speaking by his 2 year check and the judgement I will get from the Health Visitor. I have again read repeatedly that delayed speech is a sign of the parents not communicating enough, not helping them learn to speak. That toddlers who speak well at this age are a credit to their parents. So is it my fault that he doesn’t use words yet? We have read to him daily since he was a newborn. We sing constantly, make up the daftest rhymes for mundane daily tasks. Sing his favourites – ‘wind the bobbin’ and ‘Twinkle Twinkle’ millions of times as well as introducing him to many other rhymes. We talk all of the time! I was talking to my lovely neighbour a few days ago and she laughed and said that hubby and I are two of the chattiest people she knows, so it can’t be through lack of talking to him. Do we not give him a chance to speak? We listen, we encourage but we don’t want to pressure him either.

I know lots of kind people who have said they didn’t talk until they were three and there was no long term problems at all. Everyone seems to know someone who was a late speaker so why do I worry about it so much? He is getting closer, I know he is. There has been a few times recently where his babble has been a bit too close to a word to be coincidental. For example when Daddy said ‘in a minute,’ Monkey got cross and ran across the room shouting na naaaa, which could have been a ‘no now!’?? Am I just clutching at straws? I just worry that despite our best efforts that the delay is somehow our fault. That he watches too much telly. That I don’t talk to him enough maybe? Does he not talk because he already gets what he needs from us? He shakes his head, he points, he pulls us to where he wants us to go. He lets me know it is time for his nap by cuddling me and waving. By doing what he asks silently are we not encouraging him enough to use words instead? Oh who knows.

Guilt. My life as a mummy seems to be riddled with it.

On the reserve side he does so well with so many other aspects and yet I struggle to feel proud. I give him more credit than I give myself. It is so easy to feel guilty, but much more difficult to feel proud of myself. Proud of him, yes, but me? No.

He is such a good sleeper and has been ever since we did the cry and wait technique at 4 months old. Did we do that? Or did we just help him achieve it sooner? Would he have got there anyway? He is very coordinated. He walked early and now runs a lot. He kicks a ball really well and has a seriously strong throw. His fine motor controls are fantastic too and he threads spaghetti through his sand sieve with ease. He loves drawing and painting and is really good at it now. He feeds well from a spoon and has a good stab with his fork. He’s great at putting his coat on and his learning with his trousers and tops.

He understands sooo much. If I say “sit on the step so I can put your shoes on”, he trots off to the step and sits down. If I say “Shall we go upstairs to get dressed?” He takes my hand and takes me upstairs. He knows where his relatives live, if we walk past the path to Uncle Simon’s house he points and says ‘er er er’, the same goes to the paths leading to Grandma and Granddad’s house. He can point out the animals in his favourite books.

For the most part he is such a wonderful, happy little monkey that I push all of this guilt and worry to the side and enjoy the time I have with him. I tell myself that he will learn to speak when he is ready. That the fussy eating and shyness are just phases he is going through. That I am doing my best. But I never quite manage to convince myself.

I’m sure that these worries will pass and be replaced by others but  Guilt, I think, is to be a lifelong companion. That, and Wine 🙂


17 thoughts on “Is it my fault?

  1. It would be very easy for me to say to you to stop being hard on yourself, that all these things will sort themselves out. Different children learn different things at different ages and in a different order. But, the fact is, your feelings are yours and your concerns/worries are completely normal. The one thing I would say is that I don’t believe you’re doing anything wrong, and while worry is correct, I don’t think you should feel guilty – you are not at fault and it sounds like you are a wonderful, concerned, mother who is doing all the right things xx Thank you so much for linking to #ThePrompt xx

    • Thank you, you are very kind. I just want the best for him and wish I was confident enough in myself to believe that I am making the right decisions for him. Being a mummy is such a responsibility! xx

  2. We all have worries like this, and it’ll be over different issues at different times. Children cannot learn everything and be good at everything in one go. So while he make not be speaking, alongside another toddler who does, can that toddler kick a ball or paint as well? They all catch up and it levels out, I know that now. When Boo was younger her closest friend barely said a word, and words were difficult to understand until she was nearly 3, she didn’t walk until 17 months. But now at 4? She’s just the same as Boo – chattering away constantly and running about! Don’t be scared of your health visitor’s judgement either, it’s your child, you know you’re doing your best by him – this all comes from the confidence of having a second child, I think, as I don’t listen to others now! And the shyness? He’s probably just shy. You do far more with him in social situations than I do with Little Man (my guilt!) yet Little Man is confident. Just his nature, just Monkey’s nature. Adorable either way 😉

    • Thanks Jocelyn, I know you are right, just my negative head making me doubt myself! I do wonder whether I will be a bit more chilled with a second child, having been through it all once, we will wait and see I guess! xx

  3. I can completely identify where you are coming from. You have probably already heard this from others but children really do learn at their own pace. I know it’s tough but you have listed all the amazing things Monkey can do and I think even though it’s tempting to worry over the things he can’t do yet, you have to try and focus on the things he CAN. I believe that each child is an individual and will not conform to a certain set of rules, so I tend to ignore advice on websites as they really are just a rough guide. But I’ll get off my soapbox now!! It’s a really good post, and very true. #theprompt

    • Thank you so much, and I know you are right. Most of the time I manage to focus on the good things but the worry seeps in sometimes. Thanks for the lovely comments 🙂

  4. Worrying about our kids development seems to come with the territory. It doesn’t sound like you have anything to feel guilty about though. You’re doing everything you can for your wee boy and I’m sure he’ll speak when he’s ready – apparently my husband didn’t talk at all until he was quite old and then just came out with a full sentence. It does happen 🙂

    • Ha ha I think it does! Thank you and I’m sure he will too, maybe I am just too impatient! I’ve heard that a few times recently, I actually dreamt last night that he started singing a song as his first words! 🙂

  5. he is doing amazingly well; try not to put too much pressure on yourself. In five years’ time you will have forgotten the things you feel guilty about now, so it isn’t worth wasting emotional energy. Enjoy it x

    P.S. In about a year you’ll be desperate for some quiet when they’re chattering ALL day! 🙂

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