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Slower Steps

Slower Steps

“Is she walking?” 

I hear this question, or some variation of it, all the time. Strangers ask it. Acquaintances weave it into each greeting. Family members express their concern. You see, my daughter is 19 months...and not walking, nor does she really seem that into the idea at all. I dont tell those inquiring that last part; instead I rattle off her skills, accomplishments, and make an array of excuses including:

Shes a preemie.

Her cat-sister is easier to play with at scooting-level.

She isn't walking, but she has over three books memorized and says more words than the average kids in her real and adjusted ages.

She can point out body parts on humans and animals!

Shes more verbal, like me.

Im sure Im smiling when I say these things. My sore cheeks prove that. Inside, though, Im worried. Did I do something wrong? Why didnt I go part-time earlier? It was clear immediately after my maternity leave was over that she wasnt going to accept bottles, and that was over 8 hours without nourishment on workdays. People assured me she made up for it nursing endlessly when I came home, but I don't think thats true. Some family members blame my attachment parenting, and I worry that theyre right. But then I think about my fellow AP mommiestheir babies walked on time. That makes me swirl down to the first postnatal worry: her prematurity. Will it be a lifelong hinderance?

Motherhood is a phantasmagoria of worry and comparisons to all other babies.

But It doesn't have to be. We dont need to excuse our children for being themselves. Accomplishments should be part of natural boasting and not be forced into a defense strategy.

Heres the true reason why my daughter isnt walking yet: shes an individual. She likes cats, owl books, the sound blocks make when they hit a wood floor. Oh, and shell walk when shes ready.