With the holiday season, and a few social events happening (including an early hockey game so we could actually watch Ken play)... we have been around a few more kids than normal. Kids are starting to appear in our circles, and since I haven't been around for a lot of it, I don't always get to see what other folks' kids are up to. Normal is what normal does in our house (as it is everywhere else...)
I don't know why it surprises me, but the range of behaviour you see starts unbelievably early. Brandon is definitely tall for his age, and has lots of words, and the walking is oh-so-close. Watching him interact with kids about his age, you can see all those things. Talking to other moms, they more or less agree with the early walkers aren't really early talkers and vice versa. What has surprised me is being more aware of the different parenting styles out there and the impact it has on their kids overall beings.
There are the obvious rights and wrongs, and the whole wide and wonderful range of normal. But Brandon is just about 17 months, is doing the home daycare thing, and is pretty content most of the time. I try to plan outings when he is not tired, and that he has a full belly. We watched him interact with a group of "new to him" kids on the weekend, and it was amazing what little turds they could be to him, and how he really didn't care. When the other kids would take his toys, he would kind of shrug, and find something else. When chaos and meltdowns happened around him, he just sought us out. You could see the other kids doing things like this to him to see if he would react, and he didn't. Ken and I were both so proud of him, it was pretty humbling. Gave us a different kind of appreciation of what you really focus on teaching your kids early - social interaction, how to share, how to be content in your own skin. It starts so bloody early. I don't know if it was mob behaviour and he was the youngest, and I know he has been the one to grab toys from other kids on occasion, but I was pretty proud of how he handled himself, and kind of a little dismayed at how some of the other kids behaved. It was an eye opener... especially when they are so young - you want to protect, but you can't fight every battle and we were glad to see Brandon just let this shit behaviour from the other kids roll off of his back!