Managing Expectations

I have high expectations.

I blame it on the books and articles that I have read, the posts that are on my social media newsfeed, and my firstborn whom I gauge developmental milestones.

When I had Jansen, I constantly compare him to his ate. His first tooth eruption, his ability to hold his head, the time when he first turned, and when he first spoke… or the lack of it. Julia spoke as early as 10 months and was speaking full sentences before she turned two years old.

I kept on asking my mom and dad friends when did their children utter their first word.  Of course they are within the normal schedule but they assured me that he’s just delayed. My mind is silently shouting out my frustration.  So what should a paranoid mom do? Jansen’s pediatrician recommended to have him assessed by a developmental pediatrician.

We had him assessed at age 18 months because he can’t even say mama or papa or any deliberate word.  As expected, he was delayed in speech and comprehension. The following months became busy as he undergoes tests, speech and OT assessments, and then eventually trying to find him therapists with dentist appointments at the side (his teeth deteriorated due to chocolates and sugared drinks).

My Japanese boy in his UN costume. Photo by tita Pau

Through all of these, I realized that…

  1. It’s alright to be paranoid.  Nobody can take this away from any mother.  The earlier the intervention, the better. The need for identifying or diagnosing his condition will mean that I can do whatever it is that can help him and also..
  2. To accept whatever that may be.  I think the hardest part is accepting whatever the result is.  I prepared myself by asking the question..”If he is special, will I love him any less?”
  3. Daycare is better than hiring a nanny.  Because it was so hard for me to get a decent nanny for Jansen, we enrolled him in daycare.  Our last nanny was quiet that I think this may have contributed to his speech delay. We felt that the daycare will provide the interaction he needs with his peers and teach him to be independent.  This also aided Jansen’s improvement by providing activities like art, singing songs, and role play alongside his therapy sessions.  We found this also more reliable than a nanny who usually has a family and bails on you whenever they have a problem.
  4. Every child is different.  Of course I already know this but it is still difficult to restrain myself to compare developments from my experience with Julia.  Now, I just try to enjoy him as much as I can and be happy with whatever he accomplishes.  Just before he turned 2, we were ecstatic when he said “car” — his first real word!
  5. We need to earn more! Well this is because his therapy sessions cost more than sending him to a regular school.
  6. Prayers help. When I feel that I will go crazy, I just pray and meditate. I minimize the unnecessary things and focus on what we really need. And most of the time with the help of family and friends, we really do have everything.

And now that Jansen turned 2 years old today, I just pray for his health and happiness.  That we are here to support him to be his best self.  We thank God for giving him to us, for managing my expectations and just enjoy every moment with my family.

Happy birthday my Jansen!


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