(un)surprising things about child development - Bubbablue and me
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(Un) Surprising things about child development

With all humans being different, it’s surprising really, how much comparison there is between parents between children.  We all know of people who’d had comments made because their baby Is ‘late’ at hitting a milestone whether it’s speech, walking, weaning and more.  It’s interesting how most of the comments come about children being ‘late’ rather than early at doing something.  Crowing about how early your baby does something is often judged, so it’s like the parent and the child can’t win.  Of course you’re proud of your child having achieved something, and want to shout about it.

(un)surprising things about child development - Bubbablue and me


It is amazing when you think about it, how different children can be in development, even though we shouldn’t be surprised.

Through the baby and toddler stages you’ve got:


I only ever saw N roll from back to front, never the other way (which he must have done to get in the places he did and couldn’t tell you how old he was.  Until he was an older baby and then he just rolled and rolled all over the house

First words

Mmm, we had lots of babbling but not much clarity where we could say it was a specific, intentional word for a long time


N was relatively early at sitting (just about alone) at around 20 weeks old, but most take a lot longer.

sitting up at 20 weeks old


My view is baby led all the way, but really you can only wean when the child is interested.  Some like to play with food, some (like piggy N), just like to eat with it.  They all eat in the end, and however much or little they eat, they mostly put on weight as they should.


Could be  from 6 months to never, if your baby ends up being a bottom shuffler and never doing a traditional crawl.  N rocked on all fours for a month or so, then took another 2 months to actually move forward rather than backwards at 9ish months.


Could be any time.  Some are ready to walk at 9 months, others can be nearer 2 and more.  N was just over 11 months; he didn’t really cruise, just decided to stand up and walk.


Pot luck on when and how clear.  I was always amazed by how clear and how detailed the vocabulary and language was of some of the girls of N’s age.  While he knew quite a lot of words, N took a long time put more than 2 or 3 together, and it wasn’t until he was 2 ½ that his speech was clear enough for anyone to understand him.

Once they start to really converse and start to learn numbers and letters, that’s when I’ve found more comparisons coming through and being more visible.  There’s quite a few children (mostly girls) we know of N’s age who can clearly write not only their names, but other words as well.  N can sing the alphabet (thanks to a Happyland school tune), and count just about to 20 (with the occasional prompt for a missing number from me), but actually telling me what a letter or number is when he sees it, is beyond him.  He just doesn’t seem to try (or want to).

But he’s enjoying ‘writing’ his blurb (the other day he came home from nursery with 14 (!) ‘cards’ he’d made and written in.  He holds a pen nicely, and sometimes asks to do ‘writing’, if only for a short time before getting up to play.  I’m hoping that in the rest of this time before school in September, that he’ll be more interested, be more focused in sitting still and writing for longer, and be able to recognise more letters and numbers.

One thing N does know is his right and left.  Because I’ve always talked to him about directions and when getting him dressed, it’s something that’s been drummed into him.   So it surprises me that there’s probably more 4 year olds that we know, who don’t know them than do.  But then, I suppose there’s a number of adults who also don’t know either so I shouldn’t really be surprised.

Obviously the older they get, the more varied a child’s knowledge is.  One child might know lots about cars if that’s something that’s talked about lots at home.  Another might be obsessive about tractors and farming (that’ll be us then).  Other might be all about numbers and letters but no ‘topics’ in particular.

So it’s amazing how they get informally assessed when they start school because the teachers have to be able to get them to a certain level by a certain point in the year.  A few will have started school with no understanding of numbers and letters, others will be well ahead of their age, while there’ll be the whole spectrum in the middle, with flashes of the different knowledge and skills for each child to be encouraged as well.  I don’t envy teachers their jobs at all at those early stages.

What surprises you about children and development?

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  1. It’s so hard to not compare children. In our NCT group Monkey was the last to do everything and he felt the frustration when he couldn’t communicate with them verbally (only physically) and couldn’t walk with them. I’ve had to learn to except that he only does things when he is ready and that’s fine. Unfortunately others judge and label children without actually getting to know them.

  2. I’ve never been into competitive parenting. My sister-in-law at the moment is suffering from ‘first child syndrome’ in that she keeps posting every ‘achievement’ of her son on Facebook despite them being standard child development milestones.

    1. Oh that is annoying. I think that’s why I started my blog so all my real life facebook friends didn’t have to defriend me in case I started going on too much! Thanks for popping by

  3. Aloha! I like to read this. I do hate comparaisons!! I wish all parents would just let babies grow at their own path. Our baby boy was an early walker (8 1/5months), did everything early as of physical activities. I NEVER bragged about it. I’d encourage him as it seemed to make him really happy but that was it. But other parents would tell me that it was wayyy too early for him to walk, that we should have him crawl first…! WHAT? How do you forbid a baby to walk, tape his knees on the floor? It was sometimes funny, sometimes very irritating. He is now 18 months. I am not sure he is going to be an early talker, doesn’t seem like it and I can already hear other parents telling us : “what, he doesn’t talk YET..?” Haha I’d rather laugh. Whenever HE is ready to do anything will be just fine. Can we let babies be babies, please? thanks for this nice article (& comment!).

    1. Lol, how mad. If a child wants to walk they will. It’s like one of our friends, her baby just wouldn’t sit, she always wanted to be held in a standing position. Of course as a baby she wasn’t strong enough to put weight on her legs, but lots of people would say she shouldn’t be doing it. But the baby just loved it compared with sitting.

      Agree, we should let them be.

  4. You are right. I have twins and neither did the same thing at the same time. Even though they were born at exactly the same time! Harry crawled first, she sat first, he walked first, she babbled! So different. I have given up now on expecting them to reach milestones together and just on enjoying it when we get there. Jess x

    1. I’m always intrigued by twins, because you would often expect them to be so similar, but more often than not, they aren’t – whether identical or not. Really interesting and just proves that children are all different and individual. Thanks for commenting Jess.

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