Am I bad mummy?

As many of my readers already know since birth and even before little J has been poked and prodded and at times I've felt he is just like a human Guinea Pig. 
Along the way we've been told he'll have learning difficulties or he has delayed development. Then there's the possible NF1, operations and the forthcoming shin guard that is going to be wrapped around little J's leg to protect his tibia from breaking. 
Our latest appointment with the health visitor was a nightmare. I got little J out his pram and she told me to put him on the floor. There was a student nurse also in the room and called little J over to a selection of toys that had been put on the mat. As expected he crawled over and began to look at them all, deciding which one to choose first. 
 
The health visitor then said 'how do you know which one he wants to play with?' 'Does he point at it?' I replied with 'no'. Little J hasn't learnt to point at items yet. She looked at me utterly shocked and asked me how I know when he wants anything and the truth is I don't know. I guess I suppose but I know my own child and I know when he wants something. This wasn't good enough and for this part of the assessment little J scored a 0
She made it quite clear that she thought little J was very baby like in everything he does. Erm well he is only 13 months and to me he is still a baby but she wasn't happy with how he dealt with certain situations. For example he still puts everything to his mouth first. So when he was given an wooden bead and she wanted him to put it in a container the bead went straight to his mouth first. Again another 0 on this part out of a possible 10 points. 
At this point I started doubting myself as a mummy. Am I doing this all wrong? Is there something else I should be doing? Is there going to be something in this assessment he will score 10 points on?
Next she gave him two small cubes. She didn't tell me what she wanted him to do with them but I guessed she wanted him to stack. This is something we practice every day and while he is so close he just can't do it. When he got them he put one in each hand and banged them together. 5 points. Yay well done little J. Okay it wasn't exactly what she wanted but at least he did something right.
Next he was just left to play with the student nurse while she asked me some questions. They were all about our play time at home. Is it structured? Do you have a rotation of learning toys? At 13 months we don't have structured play, and I told her so. I let little J choose what he wants to play with and we take it from there. To me it doesn't matter what we play with he is learning all the time. We do rotate his toys every day so there is always a mix of different things to do and see.
Personally I am so happy that little J loves books. Big J loved books and loved being read to and little J is exactly the same. I think it's so important to be surrounded by books from an early age. I have seen children who don't even know how to hold or open a book which is so sad so for me I am thrilled that not only can little J open and close a book he also can turn pages too.
Last but not least was sleep. Now this has come up before that little J possibly has too much sleep? Crazy I know I never thought too much would be bad but apparently little J has too much. Her exact words were 'If he is asleep he's not learning' Little J has pretty much slept 10-12 hours each night since he was 4 months old and does have 2 naps during the day most days. She suggested I wake him after maybe 30 minutes. I have been doing this and its been a nightmare. He's cranky, fussy and he used to fall asleep in his cot within minutes at night and now he's not settling at all and waking in the night for a bottle.
 
I am going to try getting him back to his old routine because even though he asleep and she said he isn't learning, he is not learning now when he is awake because he is so tired and he doesn't want to do anything.
 
I always take advice from the professionals but I'm not sure whether they are always right. As a parent I feel we know our children best and sometimes we have to go with what we think is the right thing to do.

9 comments

  1. I honestly don't think you can gauge that much from a 13th month old baby - everyone develops at a different rate - my son only learnt to walk when he was 14 1/2 months and was delayed in speech to his peers but now can't stop talking and has a huge vocabulary - I sometimes feel they are constantly trying to push childhood along, little J might have some obstacles to overcome in the future but what your doing is great, never doubt your ability as a mother and you do know your child best.

    Laura x

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  2. Michelle, you are not a bad Mum. Every child develops at their own rate and that is perfectly OK. Those tests are awful. Children are not performing monkeys. You understand and respond to your child's needs, and that is what is important. And remember, HV appointments and assessments are completely optional. Big hugs.

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  3. I remember going for this "test" with my three ...they all failed it! Your little man is happy you can see that by his lovely smile - I wouldn't be worried at all. You are doing a great job x

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  4. Oh my god! I thought they were a little harsh on Oscar when he had his one year check up but this just sounds like bullying! You're not a bad mum at all. It makes me so sad that HV's make people feel that way. It sounds to me like little J is doing just fine and developing at his own speed (which is what all babies do - why turn it into a competition)? I know it's easier said than done but this time I think you should just ignore her words of 'wisdom' and continue doing things just as you have in the past.

    Sending virtual hugs xxxx

    Louise x

    Confessions of a Secret Shopper

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  5. You know your son better than anyone, if he's happy and you're happy then carry on as you are. Pushing him too hrd won't make either of you happy x

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  6. Oh goodness, what a stress for you! I have never given any of my children structured play and I don't think you should feel under pressure to do this. I also wouldn't expect a child of 13 months to stack cubes, I think most of them would do what your Little J did - bang them together. Go with your instincts and ignore the professionals, every child is different and your son will develop at his own rate. Love and nurturing is the place to start and you're already doing that brilliantly :)

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  7. What an informative overview, I don't have kids yet, but I shudder at having to go through something like this, you poor thing, I think all the things you are doing are wonderful!

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  8. that sounds so cruel about having to wake him. I always think that if babies sleep it is because they need it. I even take my older kids into school late if they ever have a lie in because i know that it is because they need their sleep. There's a lot to be said for gut instinct and sometimes the advice between different professionals varies so it might be that someone else doing the same job would have given different advice. I always think it is important to have unstructured play too. I can only echo what laura says in her comment above about you knowing your child best. xxx

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  9. I know your a nursery nurse like me, so you will know when I say mum knows best! you know your son, the health visitor sounds a nightmare I haven't met one 14 month old that can point everytime and put things in cups etc! health visitors don't know your child, you do.


    Catherine x

    beauty is in the eye of the beholder

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Thanks for your comments. I love reading them :)