For about six months, its main purpose was to collect grease spots and hog magnets.
Tonight, I made it official, crumpling up the development milestone chart that has stubbornly hung on the refrigerator since Hope's birth, becoming more irrelevant each month.
Several months ago, it would have been a sad moment. But this was more like emptying the dishwasher: A slightly onerous chore that seems worse the longer you put it off.
As spring faded to summer and fall, we've realized that Hope's course is so unique that it's pointless to plot it on conventional charts. When she was about four months, we kept score like a 4-Her at the county fair. Check, check, check. She's hitting her marks.
At six months, we rationalized. Well, she's not making vowel-consonant combinations, but that wheeze kinda sounds like an "Ah Goo." Good enough!
At nine months, we gave up. A few weeks shy of her first birthday, Hope will do well to hit 9 pounds by November, remains toothless and is still chugga-chugga-chugga close, but not quite sitting on her own.
We think her motor and social skills are about the same as a 5 or 6-month-old, for those keeping score at home.
It's liberating to say we're not, as much as we can avoid it.
The trick is striking that balance between acknowledging that Hope is on her own curve and still working to maximize her potential. I've worried sometimes that acceptance could lead to complacence.
That seems unlikely with a taskmaster like Mo. She still works Hope like that angry guy from Celebrity Fit Club. Our house is being overtaken like kudzu with motor skills-building toys and apparatus. Every night, we wave like giddy beauty queens to encourage Hope to wave back.
One day, we know she will. Until then, we'll forgo the scorecard.