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Above and beyond


5 months ago4 min read

The sun is setting earlier now and at the moment it is descending behind the neighboring buildings just before our daughter goes to bed. For the last week after her evening porridge she has been given a chewable "bear" tablet, dragged her stool to the door and sat to quietly watch the sunset, sometimes telling us how beautiful it is.

I don't care what people say about parenting, we are doing something right.

Today she had her 3-year check up at the Neuvola (maternity clinic), where in Finland they support parents from the start of pregnancy until the child is near school age. It is a good system and is of course like nearly all healthcare in Finland, provided as a social service equally to all.

The three year checkup goes beyond the normal general weight, height, head size kind of thing and goes into testing actual development of the child's motor skills and cognitive abilities. Some parents drill their children for these things and while we have not done so, we had no fears at all as we already know she is beyond her age in ability.

Of course, these tests aren't made to find talent, they are there to catch those who may exhibit developmental problems, whether physical things like spinal conditions or, cognitive things like an inability to comprehend instructions. It was pretty obvious by the tests involved that if there was a shade of concern in her parent's minds as to her ability, it was misinformed as she would have passed these tests before she was two.

There were things like reading an eye chart and identifying the shapes, naming objects pulled out of a box and then listening to which is called and placing them back into the box and identifying the size of a shape in relation to another. I was expecting a coloring in the lines test of some kind or counting or something, but we were told that it is too early for those ones. The nurse is assigned and we have had the same one for 3.5 years meaning that she has seen @smallsteps progress and knows she is pretty well up there.

Because we are a duel mother-tongued family though, there is always concern as to whether the child's language ability is able to cope and whenever we are in the presence of doctors and nurses, they watch her very closely when interacting with me. She is fine and switches seamlessly through languages and translates when she feels someone doesn't understand what is being said. That is, she normally translates Finnish into English for me.

I consider myself very lucky to have the daughter we do as she is amazing to be around and while it seems like so many parents have to bear their children, I am able to enjoy going out to coffee with her and talk about the things we see and what is important to her at the time. She is very observant of her world and we can talk about things to some depth while it appears those with kids around us are more doing what is necessary for their child's survival needs.

And then there are these moments.

She sleeps like her mother. Although, she didn't always.

The road has been hard to get to this point and we have done it mechanically, analogue and with very little outside assistance. It has taken its toll on us as a family for while we have survived, we have suffered and for at least the parents - we are tired. But a few moments with our daughter and it was all worth it, no matter the effort it took.

While almost anyone can have a child, I don't think that everyone should, because the investment it takes is often more than many are willing to put in. And in a world that is incentivized to fight for our attention, it is becoming far too common to look over the heads of those who actually deserve it.

[ a Steem original ]


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