Tuesday, July 5, 2011

All on her own time

When M was born 4 weeks early, we were told by the doctors that she would most likely be a little behind other kids developmentally. Along with being born early, she was born with terrible reflux so the required "tummy time" lasted a fraction of the time it should have, as she would throw up and choke when on her belly. She wasn't able to hold her head up until a month after all her friends. She was the last person in our class to be able to sit up on her own. The lack of tummy time led to weak arm strength, which led to not crawling...at all, ever. Eventually she learned to scoot around on her bum - something that looked like Gollum from Lord of the Rings, but hell it got her from point A to B. 
M is very tall and skinny like Dada J -
 Mama J is jealous

When she still hadn't started walking on her own by 12 months, we were told to see a pediatric orthopedic specialist. We went to MGH, she had X-Rays of her hips (as her feet are pretty turned out - like a ballerina in second position), and he looked her over in about 2 minutes. He explained that due to her larger than average head (100 percentile to be exact) and her tiny skinny long body (97% height, 50% weight) her center of gravity is way off kilter, so she will take a little longer to walk on her own, but overall everything looks great. At this appointment I was told "she will be off running on her own any day now." That was in January.

While all her friends started walking on their own, she was taking a few steps holding both of my hands. Then we finally went to just one hand in the Spring. While holding onto just one of my fingers (barely holding on) she was able to run around and do what she should be able to do at this age on her own.  It had been 6 months since that last appointment at MGH, so we went back for another check-up. This appointment lasted approximately 60 seconds (after we waited 45 minutes for the doctor, and we were his first appointment!) and we were again told there was nothing to worry about, "she is just stubborn."

Three weeks ago, the day we came home from our Adults Only Puerto Rican Adventure (see previous posts :), M walked for the first time on her own. She took 21 steps the first time she ever walked and looked like she had been doing it for months. We were ecstatic. But little did we know it would be a one time thing - thank God we got it on tape. 

So now it is 3 weeks later and she has yet to walk on her own again. And Mama is frustrated beyond belief. I understand kids do things when they want to, but she turned 19 months yesterday! She should be running around with her friends, not holding my hand or falling on her bum (there is no in-between now). If I try to let go of her hand she starts to whine and will just sit on her bum. If we try to get her to walk from my husband to I, her legs will turn to jelly and she will refuse to even stand up! And it drives me crazy. 

Everyone keeps saying "she will walk when she is ready," but she HAS walked, she CAN walk, so why doesn't she just walk!?! It is like she is terrified to walk on her own again, and I don't understand why. She didn't fall and hurt herself, she actually screamed with delight when she did it that one time. I have even sat her in front of the computer and showed her video of her walking and she will clap and say "yeah baby walk!" and I will say "yes! let's try it again!" and she will just start to moan and sit down and refuse to walk. 

What is going on in her mind-grapes?? How do I get my stubborn child to walk on her own? Any suggestions? 


  1. A friend recently repeated this statement to me, "you never see a kid go off to college with their paci..." or "go to high school holding their lovey..." so sometimes they just want/need to be a baby or cling to certain things more/longer than we may think is right. Just go with it. While it may bug you to see other kids moving faster or advancing physically, once M does, she will never look back...and it will be rare when she does want to hold your hand.

    It is hard to just let it go and let her do her thing, but in a few days, weeks or months this will be something you barely remember (as you will be fixated on something else going on in her life :) So just try to go with it.

    You coul also just try putting things she does want out of her reach and stepping out of site to see if she tries to get it on her own. She just may love all of Mama J's extra TLC.

    Hang in there.

  2. J knew how to walk (e.g., he could easily walk across the room) for about 2 months before he started to do it regularly. He was stubborn - becuase there was always someone to carry him. We just made him walk as much as he could and gave him a lot of praise. Then one day something just clicked...I think he didn't like crawling on the mulch or driveway - it boethered his knees!

  3. My daughter didn't crawl until after a year old (her twin brother was already walking when she started cralwing) and didn't walk until almost 19 months - she was failure to thrive because of severe reflux. She "grew out" of it around the end of her second year and she was off meds a few months later. I'd recommend just relaxing about it because there is not much else you can do. We were doing EI for gross motor, etc. but she didn't really need it - her fine motor skills were fine, she just had to get bigger to actually use her gross motor skills. You can read more about our long journey with reflux in my blog. It's interesting because my third is in that "creep forever" stage - I have to remind myself (again) to be patient and that she'll do it when she can.

  4. Does m have the fisher price stroller for early walkers? Maybe she would like to copy mommy by having a stroller to push?