My apologies to those RSS Feed subscribers who got a half-assed version of this post in their email. I hit some kind of magic keystroke combination that made my post automatically publish before I was done writing and editing. And then the Internet gave me the finger and I lost my connection, so it took me a while to delete it, fix it, and re-post it.
During my first pregnancy, I positively devoured pregnancy books. Mostly I devoured cheeseburgers, but also pregnancy books. You know how delicious they are, with their recipes for fat-free, high-bran muffins and all.
By the time I was on my third pregnancy (and fourth baby) I had pretty much stopped reading them. At that point, I had a grasp on what was imporrtant (labor pains) and what wasn't (which week the baby starts to grow fingernails).
I had also kind of stopped reading all the parenting "milestone" books. It turns out your pediatrician will ask you what tricks your kids can do. If your kid isn't doing a whole bunch of age-appropriate tricks, the doctor will refer you to Early Intervention for a free evaluation in the comfort of your own home.
The What to Expect books would have been more helpful to me if they had mentioned that. Although I suppose that would have negated the entire purpose of their book, so I guess it figures. It's not really the fault of the people who write those books -- after all, they're writing for the masses and masses of people (who apparently really do exist) who have typically-developing kids. And by "typically-developing" I mean those mythical children who hit every milestone as prescribed by Dr. Spock himself.
Those books would also have been more helpful if they had told me to expect my twins to scream and cry incessantly due to severe reflux. Or if they had given me a heads-up on how that reflux, which was caused by difficult-to-diagnose T-cell allergic reactions, would cause them so much pain they wouldn't sleep through the night until they were two.
Now, with my middle child, I was expecting all that crap, so we had the allergies diagnosed early on. Ha ha, milestone books! Suckers. Except I didn't expect her not walk until she was seventeen months because her feet are curved and her shins are twisted. Damn. Bring on the physical therapy.
And then there's Little Dude. There is pretty much nothing in any of those books that applies to him. Was I expecting to still be struggling with potty training when he turned five? No. On the other hand, I didn't expect him to enjoy multiplication at that age, either.
Suck it, milestone books.
For me, the books just caused stress. All four of my kids have been advanced in some things and delayed in others. It probably mostly averages out to typical, but they've all needed the help of some kind of professional at some point -- whether it was occupational, physical, or speech therapy.
This week I've been asked to participate in a panel discussion on parenting for my mothers of multiples club. I hope there's other moms participating who have normal-er kids than me, because I am freaking useless to give advice to anyone with typically-developing kids. If someone wants to know how to get their full-term twins to bump up from sleeping six hours a night to eight hours at a stretch, I have no idea what to say to them.
On the other hand, if someone wants to talk about their baby projectile vomiting like something out of The Exorcist, or about some funkadelic mystery rash the baby has, or about how ridiculously hard it is to potty train, then I'm all over it.