I supported El's development by observing and giving her ample floor time for unrestricted movement and play. As her first birthday quickly approached, she was not crawling or mobilizing forward. It wasn't easy as a parent to idly sit back and watch her development naturally unfold, oh-so-slowly.
I was frustrated with the time it was taking, and then frustrated with myself for my impatience.
I mustered up what discipline I had and stayed true to my beliefs. I did not buy equipment that claimed to strengthen and teach babies to move, I did not prop her into the crawling position (Okay, I did it one time!), and I did not crawl around the floor to show her how it's done.
I knew what she was working on was important, necessary and not always visible to the adult eye.
The day after Eleanor's first birthday, she began crawling. Not the butt scoot backwards, or pulling herself in circles on her belly crawl, but good old-fashioned forward crawling.
Now she crawls everywhere, loudly slapping her hands on the ground like a playful puppy. She surprises me by magically appearing in the kitchen. She crawls back and forth between her Dada and I searching for belly buttons. And today, she made her way down the sidewalk and took a left, as if to say, "Hello world! Here I come." A neighbor commented...
"she seems so confident."
I recently read Teacher Tom's blogpost Falling Behind. In a nutshell, he discussed the idea of how young children are often labeled behind, or on the opposite side of the spectrum, advanced, when in fact they are developing at their own individualized and perfect pace.
Not long ago, I felt like El was falling behind and left in the dust of her toddling, crawling, climbing peers and now I can never go back to her pre-crawling days. I already feel nostalgia for the times when she was content laying on her back so she could hold books with her feet, and flip through the pages. There were surely moments that slipped through the cracks because I focused on what came next.
Even though this milestone can be officially checked off the list, I trust that El will forever challenge me to trust her as she moves through life. It is her journey and I'm thankful to be along for the ride as we continue to find joy and meaning in every chapter we experience together.
Previous related posts
Meet that Milestone Today
The Benefits of Allowing Your Baby to Struggle
Practice What You Promise
Don't Stand Me Up; Janet Lansbury