Something I've heard all my life is that boys are "slower" than girls. As a young girl growing up this filled me with pride. I thought I was smarter and better than boys my age simply because "girls rule and boys drool." It's not that I was a jerk, it was science! Researchers had proven that girls developed faster so, sorry boys.
When I was pregnant with my first child my husband and I were excited to go in for the big 20 week ultrasound. We couldn't wait to see our baby and find out if we would be having a boy or a girl. I laid back in that chair with goo all over my belly as the ultrasound tech showed us the baby from all different angles. And then the big reveal came, "It's a boy!" We celebrated by going to our favorite ice cream shop in Denver, Little Man's. We couldn't wait to meet our sweet boy.
It didn't take long for people to start raining on our parade. For some reason people kept telling us, "Well, you know boys are slower than girls." They made me feel like my son was destined to be a late bloomer. It was written in the stars and there was nothing I could do about it. Well, Liam is almost four now and he is anything but slow. Despite being the youngest in his class at school he is constantly leading the pack. He began speaking in full sentences by age two. Potty training him was a breeze. He's always blowing away people's expectations, and I love it. Being a boy doesn't automatically make him "slow." He's developed at his own pace and there's never been a reason to worry about him. If anything, he's probably a little advanced for his age.
They think they know everything about my kids just by looking at their gender. It's not right.
When we found out we were pregnant with our second child and it was a girl people came in with their preconceived notions again. "She's a second child and she's a girl, she will definitely do things way faster than Liam did!" I would not say Isabel is slow because she isn't. She's incredibly intelligent and funny and has a knack for socializing with people. She has proven over the years, however, that she does things in her own time. She doesn't like to be rushed into any developmental milestones. She seems to inch her way closer and closer to new feats and than, all of a sudden, will surprise everyone by completing her new trick perfectly.
For example, I knew by 14 months that Isabel had the ability walk on her own. She would walk all over the place as long as she was holding someone's hand, but once you let go she would drop to the ground. She did not end up taking her first unassisted steps until she was 16 months but didn't start walking regularly until 18 months. After that, she was a pro. Its been that way with every new development. Its made me reevaluate how kids develop and that just because kids don't do things on your timetable doesn't make them slow. I think some kids just have a different way of doing things and relating to the world.
It's funny how almost every time we meet someone new that automatically assume that Liam is a slow developer and Isabel isn't. They think they know everything about my kids just by looking at their gender. It's not right. Both my kids are amazing and have different strengths and weaknesses. But trust me when I say there's not a thing wrong with either of them, and they certainly aren't slow. Let's not put such cruel labels on our kids, instead let's empower them and give them the space they need to learn and grow as they see fit.