Holding Patterns

Jan 28th

Last week, Willow had her 15-month well baby check-up.  As usual, she is in the lowest percentiles for height and weight.  Her doctor said, “She’s going to be a petite little girl.”  This, of course, is a non-surprise considering I am only about 5’3″.  All my children have been on the small side and have jokingly cursed me for causing them to be the shortest kids in their classes.  The only thing that had her doctor concerned was that Willow lost 5 ounces since she was there less than a month ago.  That visit was when we all had strep, though, and it has taken some time for Willow to get her appetite back.  Plus, Willow was flailing around on the scale this time and I’m surprised the nurse even got an accurate measurement.  We will bring her back next month to check her weight.

Developmentally, we are still in a holding pattern.  There are no concerns about her cognitive, fine motor, or speech skills.  She just does the quirky butt-scooting and is reluctant to bear weight on her feet.  We’re also making slow progress in getting her to sit up by herself.  If I roll her to the side, she knows how to push herself up, but getting her to roll by herself is taking longer than expected.  Our goals in physical therapy are to get her to pull to stand and remain standing for longer periods of time.  Her doctor wants to have her thyroid tested because of the gross motor delay.  He isn’t expecting to find anything, but it’s a start.

As I was checking out at the doctor’s office, we ran into a friend of a friend who has a daughter one day older than Willow.  We met when our babies were about three months old.  I don’t keep up with her personally because she isn’t my friend, per se, but I did get general updates by looking through my friend’s instagram activity and seeing the pictures of the baby throughout the past year.  Anyway, we said our hello’s and how-are-you’s then went on our separate ways.  As I was getting into the van, I looked over to see them walking down the stairs from the building.  That little baby was toddling her way down with her mother holding her hand and my heart sunk.

When is Willow going to walk?

It’s only natural: the motherly instinct of comparing their babies to other babies.  I never gave it much thought before because I’ve been the one to not-so-secretly judge and think that my babies were so far ahead of their time developmentally; I’ve been proud to have an early talker or a baby who can crawl all over the place.  With the exception of Aiden (he had significant global delays that were resolved by the age of three), I never expected to be on the other side of things. I wasn’t completely involved with Aiden’s therapy since I was still in school and all of his sessions took place while he was in daycare.  So while we were updated with his progress via journals and meeting with his service coordinator, it was a completely different scenario.  Because I am right here in the middle of things with Willow’s therapy, I feel uncomfortable comparing her to babies older and younger who are flying past her developmentally.

I feel selfish.

I feel helpless.

It isn’t that we aren’t doing all we can.  We are.  I’ve had to explain to all the caregivers at every place we frequent (the different branches of The Family Y and the church nursery) how important it is to get Willow on her feet and to help her sit up from diaper changes.  One of the nursery workers at the Y was surprised when I reminded her that Willow is 15 months old.  She thought that Willow was around 10 months.  That conversation and the way she said, “Oh…” when she realized how behind Willow is in her development will stick with me for a long time.

This holding pattern is just that: a waiting game.  The next couple months before her return visit to neurology are crucial.  If there are still major concerns, it’s then that we will most likely start looking deeper into the cause, if any, of her delay.  What we hope and pray for is Willow to start getting stronger by leaps and bounds.  We want her pulling up and putting weight on those little feet.  Neurologically, we aren’t terribly concerned since her muscle tone appears to be great in her legs.  She may be low in her trunk, but the underlying cause may be something muscular.  Either way, I will be perfectly happy if we don’t have to do any invasive testing.  The last thing I need is for another child of mine to undergo an MRI.  Her neurologist is of the opinion that it may be something muscular, though, so we would more than likely do blood testing first.

Today, we got Willow to hold on to the couch for a moment and stand.  It was brief, she cried for a bit, but she did it.  If I had one wish right now, it would be to understand why she doesn’t want to stand.  Does it hurt?  Or is she just being stubborn?  I want to climb into her little brain and figure it out.  One thing I know for sure is her consistent adorableness, even when she’s upset.  There’s no way to get over how cute she is.  Covered in boogers, food, or vomit, she’s a cutie through and through.  And sometimes, that’s all that matters.

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