I anticipated that Jack would be a late walker. I don’t know what it was, but from the time he was a tiny newborn I was determined not to rush his gross motor development. He took what seemed like forever to roll over, but I was unfazed. I didn’t worry a bit when he waited until 8 months to sit unassisted. And as the months continued to pass, I breezily reassured relatives that “some babies never crawl, they just skip straight to walking.”
He eventually did start crawling and, later, pulling up and cruising, but at 18 months that’s still all he does.
Sometime around 15 months my confidence started to waver. I found myself avoiding the park and any other situation where strangers may see him crawling and inquire as to his age. The kid who looked almost two still getting around on hands and knees inspired a few curious looks and I just couldn’t deal. We’ve since had him assessed by Early Steps, learned that he has low muscle tone, and will start physical therapy this month, but you can read all about that here on my personal blog. What I want to say here is that if you’ve been through something similar you are so not alone.
We each look at our little newborn babies freshly arrived in this world and can’t imagine that they are anything short of perfect, but sometimes things don’t go according to plan. My squishy newborn had hip dysplasia and had to be strapped into an orthopedic device for six weeks to correct it and is now facing yet another challenge. Maybe your baby failed her hearing test. Or your two year old is barely talking. What if it’s something more serious? It does not mean that your baby is any less perfect. It just means that your baby might have some work to do, and don’t we all?
The challenges I’ve faced in my life have made me stronger and I hope that Jack’s have the same impact on him. Even issues that seem so superficial, like a birthmark on your baby’s face, can be both devastating for parents and an opportunity to do some soul-searching about what really matters in life. Every obstacle, every challenge, every bit of unwelcome news is a chance for you and your child to learn something. So once you’ve dried your tears start looking for the lesson. And please, please know that you’re not alone.