I’ve heard all the stories: “My cousin didn’t walk until 16 months.” “Your great-uncle was carried for so long, he’d tell your great-grandmother to walk faster!” “My kid could read before she took her first steps. No lie.” Yeah, that’s all well and good, but when your 15-month-old isn’t tottering across the room, you wonder what’s going on. At least I am.
Sophie is bright and bubbly and almost always happy. She has her moments, but there is no way I’d ever describe her as a sullen kid. She is what my mom calls a ‘pappagallo’ (a parrot, in Italian) because she repeats everything we say. (Or some variation. The other day I was getting her to repeat all of the words in her vocabulary, but when I said ‘cow,’ she said ‘moo.’ Funny.) She is also a speedster on her hands and knees, climbs stairs like a champ and can stealthily circumnavigate a room by walking along the walls. Dare I say she’s even ventured to take two or three little half-steps on her own. But at 15 months, when her little friends at daycare are toddling around, she’d sooner drop to the floor.
I know, I know, kids do things in their own time. But this isn’t about competition; I don’t look at other kids and worry that they are sprinting ahead of my girl. But I do look at other kids and worry that there’s something preventing my little one from progressing. I find myself analyzing her foot position, her posture, her hips and her balance (and you don’t even wanna know what I’ve hypothesized). Logically, I’m clear that the range for a child’s first steps is anywhere from nine months to almost two years, and the Nipissing District Developmental Screen reassures me on that fact, but my anxious heart just wants to see her reach this milestone. I’m losing sleep over it.
People who know me well often remark on how calm I seem to be when it comes to Sophie, and I guess that’s partly true. I don’t really agonize over what she eats or her sleep schedule, and I don’t prep for well baby visits as if studying for exams (it would involve flash cards if I did, though). But there are things that stick to me. Walking is apparently one of them. Of course walking will come with a whole other set of challenges (stranger danger, top of the list) but nonetheless, I’m dying to see the first steps.
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