Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Everything But Girl

Do you remember that girl in high school who would put out enough to develop a reputation and corresponding popularity with guys, but who never actually went all the way?

In my day, she was fondly known as “The Everything But Girl.” Alias: The Tease.

My daughter is the developmental equivalent of the Everything But Girl.

It started early with rolling over. In the sense that, well, she rarely ever did. She would lean slightly one way or the other, rest on her arm, then flop back to her original position. All the while smiling and gurgling and taunting me. She would do everything but actually roll over.

This is the only picture I have as proof she rolled over. At month 5. I don’t think Scott ever saw it in real life.

At the time I was dumbfounded. This child held her neck up at three weeks old, learned how to scoop food weeks before her cohorts at daycare…we hadn’t had any concerns over her developmentally at all.

I was told this wasn’t a concern, and sure enough, eventually she rolled over a few times. Then figured out how to sit up and that was basically that.

At 9 months, she showed zero interest in crawling. At first, I wasn’t worried. Then the doctor suggested I should worry.

I put it off a bit. This was about the time we were switching daycares and getting ready for our first plane trip, I had other things to worry about.

Wee ‘Burb was doing the Everything But again. She would get on all fours, she would move her butt…and then move it right back to the floor and sit. If she wanted to get somewhere, she’d scoot. Or leeeean. Or bat her eyelashes at her daddy. Everything but crawl.

I figured it was cool, she’d figure it out.

But the doctor gave me an ultimatum: she either crawls by 11 months, or she goes to physical therapy.

Then I wasn’t so cool with her Everything But Girl reputation.

I was especially alarmed because we affectionately call Wee ‘Burb’s pediatrician “Mother Goose.” She is like the calmest, most serene woman I have ever met. Kid fell and hit her head? Put some ice on it. A temperature of 101? Only bring her in if it lasts more than a day. She’s soothed me in many a panicked mom situation…but the one time I wasn’t panicked, she was telling me I should be.

I don’t recall there being any sort of transition, any indication that she would. I had tried everything: I got copies of what they do in physical therapy to figure out how to manipulate her at home, I put a trail of her favorite food just out of her reach (she cried until I gave it to her)…everything.

I had just finished telling everyone: “look, some babies don’t crawl, she’s just going to be one of those.” One of those Everything But Girls.

About a week short of 11 months, Wee ‘Burb started crawling like she was born doing it.

And now we’re at 15 months and it’s the same tease with the walking. Having just learned to crawl, I didn’t expect her to jump (no pun intended) into walking right at 12 months. And after the trauma of trying to force her crawling, I decided to lay off the walking. I encouraged her to stand and move, but I didn’t force.

I get a call from the county program we participate in. They send us questionnaires and they work as early interventionists if there’s anything wrong. Well, something was wrong, they said.

We kind of joked about it at home. Oh, Social Services will come take her away because we’re not nurturing her walking enough. She’ll go to college crawling. I planned her Intervention script. “Your disinterest in walking has affected your life negatively in the following ways…”

Only, it kind of didn’t. Affect her, that is. Or us.

I mean, she pulled up on furniture. She stood up and pushed her car around the house. I know that she can do it! I also know that if I try to make her stand up, she buckles her knees and crawls as far away from me as possible.

But people were eyeing her oddly, commenting on how she was so late to walk. Others reassured me. My mother told me early to talk, late to walk. As Wee' Burb already has a vocabulary of about 10 words, I was trying to take that to heart.

Nevertheless, I dreaded our 15-month appointment with Mother Goose. The interventionists had agreed to let the doctor lead the charge. Actually what she said to me was “perhaps this is more of an…emotional or behavioral problem? Something for your doctor to determine”

Diagnosis: your baby is a bit of a jerk. What have I been telling you people??!!

Mother Goose more or less agreed, although she thought perhaps it was a confidence issue. A fear of falling and getting hurt.

She sent me and the Everything But Girl home with a prescription to wait it out for another month or two.

Wee 'Burb continues to tease, occasionally letting her hands off the table for a moment, before collapsing on her butt in a fit of giggles. She will pull herself up on everything, but do not ask her to let go.

Everything But.

I’m just not ready to be the one to push her to go all the way on this one.


Frogs in my formula said...

My son didn't walk until he was 14 months, but it went along with his personality. He was happy to let us do most things for him. I'm no expert, but it seems like she'll get to walking when the time is right.

Anonymous said...

I refused to crawl. And feed myself. Apparently as a little pup, those two activities just did not work with my vision of how the world was meant to work. Go figure, right?

The Sweetest said...

No offense toward your pediatrician, but her advise was ill advised and outdated. The American Academy of Pediatrics no longer considers crawling a developmental milestone, as, many babies do not crawl at all. Also, the standard now is that pediatricians want to see a baby walking by 16 months. Your little girl seems precious, happy, and healthy- don't worry about it!

Erica said...

The everything but girl! What a little tease. I'm sure she'll be up and running right after she takes that first step! I enjoyed reading your post.

Stephanie in Suburbia said...

@ The Sweetest: I totally agree. Although my chiro did say crawling is important for proper development of the C-spine. Anyway, she'll learn it eventually, I'm grateful my doc is giving her more time. Seems like everyone expects kids to start running the second they turn 12 months!

Amanda @ It's Blogworthy said...

This? Worries the crap out of me. I obsess over lukes development all the time. Right now I want him to roll over so bad, but he goes halfway and then stops. Drives me insane. And I know there are hundreds of other milestones to fret about.
I'm sure it is bittersweet, too.

Btw....are you serious about getting twitter? Do it! @amandaaustin