On one of the kids stations my kids watch (PBS Sprouts? Noggin?) they have been playing the story of the Tortoise and the Hare every day. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the story, it's one of Aesop's fables, and you can read the synopsis on the link I provided. The moral of the story is "slow and steady wins the race".
Hearing this story on television every day really got me to think about my kids. In a way, my son, D, is the Hare. Quick to learn, smart as a whip, he excels academically and has met every developmental milestone early or on time. I wouldn't call him lazy, like the Hare in the fable, but he doesn't usually have to work hard at anything. Of course, he just started first grade today, so time will tell if and when something becomes challenging that he really has to work at. But so far, he's quick. Unlike the Hare in the fable, he doesn't lose the race; rather, he wins. Or at least finishes.
My daughter, A, is the Tortoise. She is slow to meet almost every single developmental milestone (sat up on her own at age 15 months, walked independently at age 3 1/2, is still not potty trained at age 4, just to name a few examples.) However, just like the Tortoise in the fable, she keeps plugging away. She is stubborn and persistent, and wants to do things like "typical" kids do. She works her tush off in therapies, making her a favorite among her therapists. She is up for challenges all the time, which is why I felt comfortable signing her up for a race only 6 weeks after she began to walk independently. She is on her own timeline, but she gets there eventually. Last week I wrote about my concerns about her not writing yet; but given her tenacity, I know she will. Eventually.
I need to take a lesson from the Tortoise and the Hare fable. It doesn't matter if you are quick to learn, like the Hare, or slowly plod along, like the Tortoise. What matters is getting to the finish line. Heck, I have learned that in my own life: I am a slow runner, and will never finish in a fast time during my races, but I am proud of myself as long as I train properly and make it to the finish line. There is no "right" way to develop in life. Yes, there is a preferable way (and I often wish she would meet her milestones quicker, dammit!) but the preferable way is not the "right" way. She meets her goals on her own timeline. The point is that she gets there. Plodding along like the Tortoise she is.