Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Is he walking yet?

If I had a dollar for every well-meaning stranger or acquaintance that asked me that question... We get stopped a lot in stores and people will first ask Hayden's age and then 90% of the time their next question is: "Is he walking yet?" When I answer, "No, not quite." I usually get a sympathetic look or "Oh he'll get there soon" or "Don't worry." Now, I know that no one is considering that this seemingly innocuous question could be troublesome. 
All these responses make me feel like I should be ashamed that he's not walking.  When I get asked this question, suddenly the entire focus of this brief conversation is shifted into what my baby isn't doing, not all the amazing things that he can do! 
This question bothers me, not because I feel defensive about the fact that my son isn't walking at 15 months. No, it bothers me because I feel like there's so much pressure for everyone to "hurry up" "make it to the next milestone!"When he was younger, I would get the same type of questions, "Is he sleeping through the night yet?" "Is he crawling/sitting up/ eating solids/ applying to college yet?" (kidding) The hurry-up mentality is something that tends to be part of our culture these days. For me, I want things to slow down. I want to savor this time and this small thing that still links my toddler to his babyhood. 
I really am not worried at all about the state of Hayden's walking or non-walking. Most babies walk between 12 and 18 months, and of course there are some outliers on either end. I know Hayden's not going to crawl forever. He has always done things on his own time, and I have no doubt that when he is ready to walk, he will. However, when you are asked the same thing multiple times a week, sometimes a little doubt can creep in and you do wonder "when?". It's happened to both Nick and me and we have to stop and remind ourselves that his non-walking is completely normal and age appropriate, and not something that we need to worry about at 15 months. 
Instead of asking if my baby is walking, ask me "What is your favorite thing about this age?" I will happily tell you about his words, how he loves to laugh and be silly, how affectionate he is, his friendship with our dog, his ability to do puzzles, color with crayons, and his pride at figuring something out on his own.  I'll tell you about his messy attempts to feed himself, his love of playing at the park, and how adorable he looks when he gets a book of the shelf and reads by himself. I'll tell you about his open mouth kisses, and hugs, and how excited he is to see us always. 
So, next time you meet a new baby, resist the urge to ask if they've made it to their next milestone. Instead ask, "What is your favorite thing about this age?"  

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...