20 months and still not walking

Frog turned 20 months old yesterday.

She’s still not walking.

Unfortunately for my child, she’s been blessed with rather wonky feet and very long lanky legs. Just like her dad.

Also, unfortunately for my child, every pavement in Britain isn’t littered with a permanent handrail on which to balance while trying to negotiate life on two feet.

Each trip out of the house is fraught with anger and frustration. As other small people wander around, wreaking havoc on the world, my non-toddling toddler can only look on in dismay.

We’ve gone past the “Who gives a monkeys?” stage now. Instead, Frog is jealous and upset. She wants to join in but doesn’t know how. She has the language to demand other children take notice, but is left sitting in the corner, alone, as they skip off to play.

And as a mum, I now feel very much alone too.

The knowing smiles and reassurances of, “She’ll do it when she’s ready” have disappeared.

At baby swimming, I try to prop my daughter up to help her jump from the side, rather than simply flopping off the edge. All the other mums stand a metre or so back, waiting for their children to splash into their arms. Frog sees me trying to help and bats me away. Again, the tears and frustration.

At the baby sing-along class, the other toddlers march, hop and skip about the room to the beat of the music. My child is the only one still clutching her mother’s hand. Occasional attempts at letting go result in a wobble and fall to the ground. She’s left confused as the other children dance around her.

Now that we know there may be a problem, I’ve stopped mentioning the non-toddling status of my toddler to other mums. I’m sick of explaining away the raised eyebrows when the question of her age comes up. Instead, I let them make up their own minds. Is her speech just highly developed for an 11 month old? Or is there something wrong with her?

I leave the question hanging in the air between us.

Frog has one month to go until she passes the family record set by her dad for non-walking. As a bum-shuffler, I’m told the (self-proclaimed) Northern Love Machine didn’t even stand until he was 21 months. But Frog is a crawler. She’s been standing and trying to walk for months now. Trying but failing.

And then I see the hospital date deadline looming in the future. 4th April.

Will the wonky feet have corrected themselves by then? Is there a hip problem? Will it all magically disappear one day as Frog gets up and puts one foot in front of the other, by herself? Or are we facing yet more months of frustration and tears?

If I could walk a day in my daughter’s shoes, I would.

I would stand for her and leap about and chase the other children she’s so intent on playing with. I would reach for things that can’t be reached on all fours. I would open cupboards and climb on tables and run through parks.

I would let go of my mother’s hands and embrace freedom.


Nominations are now open for the Brilliance in Blogging Awards. If you would like to nominate me, you will need my name (Mother’s Always Right) and my URL (https://mothersalwaysright.wordpress.com). There are 11 categories. I like the look of Lit but I wouldn’t shun a nomination in any category. Even the one for Daddy Bloggers. Although I rather think the actual dads may have something to say about that…



Filed under Baby stuff, Development

41 responses to “20 months and still not walking

  1. I wish I could think of something to say … just that I am thinking of you and wish you well and with the coming awards.

    • Thank you. Sorry for the maudlin post. Having one of those moments today!

      • I was going to say “seconding Helen” when I noticed you’d already replied to her. I’d like to second her now and say there was nothing maudlin about any of what you wrote. I’m hoping Frog finds her hop any day now, but I know you’ll be beautiful in the face of what’s to come regardless.

      • You are lovely Deb. Thank you x

      • Louisa Chudley

        Just happened upon your blog… My daughter is a bum shuffler & has just started walking independently at 27 months. So have faith…. Frog will get there. We visited the consultant but they couldn’t find any medical reason why she wasn’t walking only that she was a v proficient bum
        Shuffler. After weeks of walking all the time holding our hands she finally got up & walked all by herself … Amazing.

        I know how you are feeling…. Try not to worry.


      • Thank you so much. This is exactly what I want to hear the day before the appointment. I’m so hoping for a good outcome! x

  2. Missy Woo was 22 months when she walked but Frog sounds more advanced than she was. Often, it is the frustration that drives them onto the next stage of development but at the same time, if you are worried about the wonky feet, the hospital will obviously put your mind at rest.

    Missy Woo started out a bumshuffler and learned to crawl and did both as it suited her. Yes, bumshufflers tend to be later and with Missy, she worked out that she could crawl when she needed speed and bumshuffle when she wanted to carry something.

    I remember that frustration but I ignored others’ comments. It was just inconvenient having to carry her everywhere.

    I hope you get answers when you go to your appointment. That, or she has decided to start walking. Who knows? Hugs from me anyway – I know what it’s like to feel you’re being judged as a parent just on something as random as your child’s ability to walk.

  3. Katetakes5

    I think you should embrace the hospital app – if there’s something wrong it can be corrected and if there’s nothing wrong you can shed all that worry. I know it must be hard though – same with me and my non talker. X

  4. I have a non talker. He thinks it’s not required and just points to everything! (besides “Da Da!”) Frog will get there!! I hope the hospital appointment goes well and is nothing to worry about!

  5. mutteringsofafool

    Poor Frog, I know that look of frustration on their eyes as my wee girl was thinking about crawling. She’s 10.5 months and only started crawling this week a good couple of months behind the others in our NCT group.
    Fingers crossed for you appointment and that you get some answers rather than just ‘she’ll get there’.

  6. Lady of the night


  7. Sleeping Mom

    Beautiful post…

  8. She is and will always be your frog and for all that she can not walk she is practically perfect in every way. Let the other parents talk and wonder, for whilst they are wondering about you and Frog, they are not doing it about someone that can not cope with it.

    I hope you get your answer, so you can at least make plans and take action, it must be so frustrating for both of you and very scary as a mum.

  9. Sam Ranieri

    I run toddler groups and have seen numerous different ways that little ones choose to move about. I’ll be honest – it has surprised me how many toddlers are not acually toddling at this stage – the average age to start walking is older than most people realise. Frog will walk, whether she does it by herself or with a bit of help. Best wishes xx

  10. lovely post as always Molly, I hope you get answers when you go for your appointment….but I bet Frog will decide that 4th April is the day that she’s going to walk…right there in the consultant’s office!

  11. Hoping that 4th April comes very quickly for you and brings some answers to settle your mind. In the meantime there’s not much you can do except drink tea/alcohol and eat chocolate so I hope you manage lots of that! I’m willing to bet there are other mums out there somewhere who have non-walkers at the same age as yours – somehow it helps to know you’re not alone, right? Have you googled ‘not walking at 20 months old’? Haven’t put the links here in case you didn’t do it on purpose, but there are good stories out there! You are not alone (but I know that doesn’t make it all right or less stressful) x

  12. I hope things start to improve soon and I can only imagine what you must be feeling, as a Mum it’s heart breaking to see your child wanting to do something but being unable to. I know you will just want to make it all ok for her 🙂 I have had a off loading post day today too although mine is extremely trivial compared to yours. Hope it helps sharing it with all of us and my fingers are crossed for Frog x

  13. my old neighbour had twins who were very late walkers, they were much nearer their 2nd birthday if I remmeber rightly, but they found their feet and now at 8 the baby days are long forgotten, they were also amazing talkers and rather frustrated by it all, I am sure I head somewhere that they are either talkers or walkers, and sometimes while their little minds are concentrating on one the other is left to the back burner slightly, I hope the consultant gives you some reassurance xxx

    • It’s true, F is very chatty. And her dad didn’t walk until he was 21 months so it’s not unheard of. It’s just getting a little wearing now that she knows she’s missing out! x

  14. How frustrating for you both! Here’s hoping she surprises you before the hospital date. But if it comes to it and there is something up, you will get through it. It must be a bit of a comfort to know that NLM was late as well? May this soon be a foggy memory.

  15. Oh bless u. I won’t say the usual as I know u must be so worried. We always want the best for our kids and its awful seeing them suffer. Hope u get done answers soon XxX

  16. I hope you get the answer soon, and it all works out positively for you and your daughter.

  17. Thinking of you lovely. Sure you’ll find out soon enough if there is a problem or like her Dad, she’ll take off in the coming months x

  18. Ghislaine Forbes

    Stop worrying. She’s a determined little monkey and will walk. ma x

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