We were hanging at Nanny and Poppa’s this morning, and within 10 minutes Amelia had dumped all the toys out and was busy lining the cars up. Mum jokingly said to me “oh that’s a bit OCD isn’t it”. I laughed, and my response was “well she is my daughter, and I’m a perfectionist so I’m not surprised.” I mean – she’s done a great job, even got all the smaller cars at one end.
She’s been doing it for ages. Flowers, straws, toys. She likes colour co-ordinating things, stacking things and lining things up. I think it’s cute. And pretty clever. She’s identifying differences and similarities. Two thumbs up from me. And I do think shes’ inherited my perfectionist gene.
I was staring at these lined up cars and thought why not Google “why my child lines things up”, for a bit of online praise. Because you know – I Google absolutely everything. How to get your baby to sleep longer. How long can you freeze baby food for. What do cotton fields look like (don’t ask – a debate with the husband on our drive to Auckland on Saturday!). So I hit the little go button, expecting to see something along the lines of yay your kid is a star, keep up the great work. Ah not quite. The first page of results were all forums with questions relating to development problems that could be causing this behaviour. Wait what? Is this a problem? Is there something wrong with my daughter?
I gave myself a wee mental slap (not a real one because that would hurt). Of course there’s nothing wrong with her. I know my children better than Google knows the weather forecast. You can’t expect to look up one small factor in their life and diagnose them with a problem. It’s impossible. And it will do your head in if you try. I mean I get it, when you’re at wit’s end with a behaviour your child is portraying and you just want answers, the quickest and first place to go is Google. But Mums please – don’t do it. Just don’t. Ever. Also people with hypochondriac tendencies – you need to stay away also. If my mum knew how to use the internet better, she would probably be banging down the medical centre’s door right now listing off the illnesses and diseases she has self-diagnosed.
It really frustrates me, especially in forums to see unqualified advice being thrown around to unbeknownst Mums. I understand that most often it’s with great intentions, and it’s drawn from personal experiences, but it doesn’t always mean it’s a blanket experience that everyone will have. Sometimes lining up toys really is just an activity. There’s nothing more to it. When I first had Amelia I belonged to every Mummy Facebook Group I could find. And it was great. Because at 2.30am in the morning when I was up feeding, I could scroll through the posts with hundreds of opinions, disagreements, and judgmental comments. But eventually it just got tiring and clogged up my news feed so I deleted them one by one. I got sick of reading Mums bagging other Mums for not realizing they were parenting wrong. I actually think anyone who was on those pages was interested enough to be giving parenting a darn good go, so kudos to them! But so often we’re quick to point out the faults before the compliments.
Mums – you are doing a wicked job. You’re raising a wee person. Or a bigger wee person if your kid is older than mine. You know your children better than anyone else, and you will know when there is something wrong. Trust your instincts. Don’t let Google sway your beliefs and feelings. You rock!