I may have mentioned Frog’s reluctance in the moving department before. Perhaps it was my feigned indifference at her refusal to crawl until she was 12 months old. Or even, way back at the beginning of the year, her hesitance to sit up on her own. Whatever it was, the theme is a running one: my daughter will not shift.
Don’t get me wrong. She finally mastered the art of crawling about four months after all the other babies we know, and is now very good at it – speedy even. And she’s up on her feet every bloomin’ minute of the day. But she just won’t do it on her own.
I tell myself it doesn’t matter. I even write about it sometimes. I attempt this laid back approach, reassuring myself, “She’ll do it when she’s ready” and, “Lots of toddlers aren’t walking by 17 months”. But the closer we get to that big 1-7 (on the 27th November) the more I feel a little bit antsy about the whole thing.
Why isn’t she walking yet? Is there something wrong with her feet? Is it the talipeze back to haunt us again? (That’s a wonky foot, by the way, from when Frog was all scrunched up inside me in the womb.) Is there something wrong with her hips? Does it mean she’s not very bright? But she’s walking while holding hands – isn’t that a sign she’s OK? And so on, and so forth.
It doesn’t help when you see the other toddlers – running and jumping now. And those comments that are meant as a kind starter to a conversation but now just make me inwardly roll my eyes. “Still not walking then?!” etc etc.
And then there are the babies, six months younger than Frog, who are confidently striding up and down the park, with their parents looking pityingly at me, the mother of The Late Walker.
I realise this is all in my head of course. Yet again it’s that Competitive Mum I thought to have buried forever. That one that swore she’d never stress about a baby milestone ever again. And here I am, stressing.
I think the final tipping point was the other day. I was chatting to another mum while Frog played with her son. This lady’s son is ten months old, just.
The lady asked when Frog’s first birthday is going to be, and was surprised to hear it has been and gone already. Turned out she thought Frog was the same age as her son.
Looking at my reluctant walker, playing at her feet, this lady hadn’t seen a little girl. All she had seen was a little baby, crawling around on the floor. She didn’t hear when Frog pointed to a picture of a dog and said, “Woof”. She didn’t see her pick up a triangle and put it in the shape sorter, first time. She didn’t see Frog point to her nose when asked where it was. She didn’t hear her mutter, “Car” under her breath when a car drove past.
She missed every little detail that points to the fact Frog is, in fact, a toddler who doesn’t toddle. Not a baby at all.