With just under a week to go until her first birthday, on Thursday 13th December, Clara finally mastered the art of being on the move.
I’ve often wondered if she’d crawl. Until the last week or so, she’d shown little interest. She’d rock, then drop to her tummy. Or, she’d learn as far as she could reach to try and get hold of the toy just beyond her grasp.
I’d started to worry. She wasn’t crawling, or shuffling, or moving in any real way. She could rotate 360 degrees on her tummy, but she wasn’t mobile.
She was keen to be on her feet but she needed support. She’d pull up onto her play table from sitting on my lap, but because she wasn’t crawling she wasn’t pulling up on furniture or sofa surfing.
However in the last few days she’s been desperate to be walking. Sat on my lap she’ll lunge forward in the hope she’d land on her feet. She’d then walk confidently, with my support, towards the subject she was interested in (usually a cat or a small child!)
It sounds silly now, but I tried not to be so hard on myself. Yet I thought of all the possible reasons why she might be delayed. Some normal, some circumstantial, some medical. It didn’t matter she was delayed, I just needed to know why.
She’d spent so many months in hospital in her bed, or cuddled into me whilst we roamed the hospital ward corridor attached to pump stands, or sat on the day bed, that she’d never really been given scope to explore on the floor. And with all of her delicate gut complications she wasn’t able to spend as much time as other babies on her front.
But most of all she’d rarely even seen anyone crawl. After all, us adults use our feet. The children at her playgroup were all toddlers and they use their feet. The only children her own age she saw crawling was at a weekly 45 minute Sing & Sign session and we’d missed a large handful of these classes when she was ill.
But really all of that is just excuses. The simple fact is she wasn’t ready to crawl.
And not all babies do, before you say it, I know.
But there was just something so “normal” about reaching this milestone that I just wanted to know she could do it.
As Clara has undiagnosed “white matter” on her brain we’d been led to expect some sort of neuro challenges. Physical ability, hearing, speech… we’d been advised back then to rule nothing out. With hearing now wonderful and her wide range of vocalisations becoming more and more apparent, it just left physical movement.
Earlier this year it was suspected Clara was showing preferences for one side of her body and certain reflexes in the other, so we were referred to physio. However they didn’t do anything but visit us at home twice and we were then discharged much to the dismay of Clara’s senior paediatrician.
So Clara reaching this milestone was so much more than just a baby crawling a few paces for the first time. It was a tick that she COULD do it. Another barrier she’d broken.
The neurological challenges remain unknown without an MRI under general anaesthetic. But as we all know, Clara’s medical tests rarely display the true story.