I don’t know why it took so long for me to see it.
For the last fourteen months of her life, our little Elsie has always been a bit behind on those developmental milestones that everyone loves to ask about, and, let’s face it, that we as first time parents tend to obsess over. She was behind on lifting her head up, at sitting up by herself, at rolling over, at army crawling, and now, at well over a year old, while we are fielding questions about whether she is walking or not, she is just beginning to act like she might possibly maybe at some point begin to THINK about true crawling. I’ve spent a good deal of time and effort on worry and stress and frantic texts to my mom and sister about it. (“What am I doing wrong?” and “What’s wrong with my baby?” and “Why am I such a terrible mother?”) I found myself feebly and apologetically trying to defend why my child is just not walking yet like a “normal” baby to the random strangers asking.
And then one day we came to the realization that (DUH!) the reason she’s behind on all these things (and really, she’s not so very behind, which makes it all the more absurd) is not because I’m not encouraging her enough or she’s developmentally delayed, it’s because she is simply an insanely cautious child. Always quite nervous and serious in a new situation, always hesitant to really handle a new toy or to play too vigorously in her bath water, Elsie’s the baby that needs to experience something several times over before she will decide that she likes it. In her eyes, we might as well expect her to go sky diving as go cruising or walking by herself. And, you know what? That’s okay. It’s the way God put her together, and therefore it is just fine. Sure, it’ll take some work on our part through the years to help her overcome some of that caution, lest it become debilitating. But for now it’s enough to simply know and be watchful. She’ll walk when she’s ready. And, oddly enough, since I made a conscious effort several weeks ago to stop worrying about all that – stop looking at timelines and stop mentally comparing Elsie’s progress with that of her cousin (who is four months younger and already climbing stairs and cabinets and who knows what all else) – and to just begin fully enjoying her for who SHE is, I have noticed that she seems happier overall and more settled, adjusting a little more quickly even in new situations…in spite of the three or four molars struggling to join the eight (!) other teeth already pulling their weight at mealtimes.