It’s funny, I actually got used to the fact that Berlyn isn’t walking. Oddly enough, it’s weird for me to envision her walking. Like when I think her going off to her first day of pre-school, I consider making sparkly, bedazzled knee pads so she has something soft to crawl on. And for her wedding day, maybe some lacy gloves, so her hands don’t get dirty as she crawls down the isle.
But seriously people, it is bound to happen. Her first steps are imminent. And they just so happened LAST NIGHT!! Oh, and I wasn’t there. Yeah, I missed my FIRST child take her FIRST steps. This is why I don’t work, so I don’t miss things like this, and so I can slather myself with tanner any time of the day, while eating hummus straight out of the container.
My husband and my mom were watching her last night while I was at school, cutting lame peoples’ hair, and they decided that they were going to get Berlyn to practice her walking skills. Well, apparently she took three or four steps, and walked straight into dada’s arms! When I got home I had Pat recreate the whole thing, complete with Berlyn’s coos of delight and drool, he was good, but it wasn’t the same. I contemplated waking Berlyn out of a deep sleep just so I can see her walk. But instead I waited for morning. When she woke up, I peeled back the covers with a jolt and headed straight into her room. I plopped her down on the ground and tried to get her to walk to me, but she was more interested in her box of books next to her crib. I waited 15 minutes and tried again, but this time she was hungry. Then I tried again, but instead she wanted to play with her train. CRAP. Thus far I think my mom and husband are liars.
But mark my words: Today Berlyn will walk for me, and bonus points if I have the video camera and still camera set up on tripods to record this moment, even though it isn’t her first attempt…
How do you not compare? How do you look at other babies and not compare and judge? I could give my left dimpled butt-cheek that your baby sticks his pointer finger high in the air when asked how old he is. Or that your daughter can say 18 words (most of which aren’t words at all, but mere sounds like, Ah, daa, goo. And no, nothing about those words remotely resembled ball, dad, or Guggenheim). But yet, in the back of my mind, while I’m nodding politely at your baby who is using sign language to tell you that he wants his bottle (he’s still using a bottle??), I am judging you. It’s a peaceful and unmotivated judgment, but I am judging you none the less.
But in all fairness and honesty, I think you’re judging me too. You see, I read a statistic in What to Expect, the Toddler Years, that said 90% of all 15 month olds are walking. Which means that my baby is in the 10% group of babies that is not. I don’t know why she isn’t walking yet, and I’ve given her plenty of opportunities. But for some reason her inability to walk is giving me a complex. I feel like I have failed her as a mother, and that she’s missing out on fun activities. I am insecure when we go to play groups and people ask me how old my daughter is, and when I answer, I feel their eyes smugly judging as they watch her crawl around. I know I am crazy for worrying about this, and I’ve been told a handful of times that it’s a blessing by exasperated mothers that are chasing their overactive walkers, but they’re just being nice albeit, a little condescending.
I can’t force her to walk, and from the looks of it, she’s really not all that into it. She pushes things around, and holds my hand, but as soon as I let go she collapses to the floor, and it takes everything in me not to get frustrated. My mom tells me that I didn’t walk until 15 months, and now I’m a fabulous walker. I know nothing is ‘wrong’ with her, but in our twisted society, babies that pick up new things quickly are praised as geniuses and child prodigies, and is it so much to ask that my baby be the best baby in the whole wide world?