As I watched other babies several months younger than my son cruise around rooms with ease while my Jared just sat and watched, I tried not to be that mom. You know, the one who compares what her baby can do against what others are doing. After all, Jared is my second child and I know better. Kinda.
At his 9-month well check, I told the pediatrician that he’s not trying to crawl yet. He said 10 percent of babies never crawl so as long as he’s sitting himself up and seeming interested in starting to stand, I had nothing to worry about. And that was my cue to officially worry, because Jared wasn’t doing those things either.
The doctor said give him some time because he wasn’t in a worrying time frame yet. That word again: worrying. So I did both–worried and gave him time.
Around his 11-month birthday, I called the doctor again to report that Jared was still as immobile as ever. This time, he told me to contact a pediatric physical therapist.
She diagnosed Jared as weak, which I tried not to laugh at initially. I mean, he’s a baby. It’s not like he goes to the gym to bench press or take the Spinning classes I teach. Don’t all babies have mushy muscles? Apparently not as mushy as Jared’s at this age.
He’s a big guy. At his 9-month visit, he was in the 90th percentile for weight. (Ironic considering he nearly died of starvation from an intestinal blockage that was cleared through emergency surgery when he was 4 weeks old.) It takes a lot of muscle to move that much mass, the physical therapist told me.
Plus, there’s all that tummy time Jared lost to the severe asthma he had from February to April. Don’t put him on his tummy a lot because that further compresses his chest, a doctor said.
If there’s one thing that parenting has taught me in the three and a half years since I became a mom (to Jared’s older sister), it’s eschew expectations and assumptions. It never occurred to me that a baby would need help with supposedly innate movements like sitting up, crawling, and standing. And yet, here I am at a pediatric PT practice once a week for the foreseeable future. Sometimes the reminders of how naive I can be come like slaps to the face.
I’ve also learned from this experience that comparing babies has its advantages. There’s nothing wrong with some solid–and really cute–reference points.
Jared has gone to PT three times now. After two sessions, he sat himself up twice. I carried on as if he’d won Olympic gold. He’s already making great strides, although not literal ones. We’re working on that.