Too Bad, Munchkin

Eighteen months. It’s been eighteen months since the doctor held you up and showed me the tiny little being who was about to turn my world upside down. And you’ve done just that … in amazing ways. You are talking constantly and saying new words every day. You love singing songs and are starting to eat using a spoon. You know where your eyes are, what your nose is, and like to show off your teeth. Your giggle can light up the room.

But I’ve noticed there are a couple things you aren’t doing. You won’t stand unless you’re holding onto to someone or something. You haven’t walked. Even though I’ve pushed you to do both. I’ve voiced my worries to anyone who would listen. In order to comfort me, most of my friends and family have been telling me that all kids hit milestones at different times. This is true, of course. But something didn’t feel right. Something about the panic on your face when I sat you on your toddler slide. Something about your cry when I tried to force you to stand just sounded different. Something was off.

At your last appointment, your doctor agreed. She commented on how extremely smart and intuitive you are, but she had concerns about the abnormal way you crawl and the anxiety you seemed to get when it came to standing and walking. So, she referred you to a physical therapist. I felt so relieved. I had been trying everything I knew to nudge you along. And I was happy we were going to see a specialist. So, yesterday, we went for an assessment.

Gravitational insecurity. That’s what they’re calling it. It’s a sensory disorder that I will admit, sounded a little bogus at first. Until they explained it more. See, something in your inner ear causes you to be hypersensitive to certain movements. The idea of standing on your own sends you into fight or flight mode. You don’t like sitting on anything too high. You don’t like your head being tilted back. You don’t like rolling over. Or moving too fast. These things make you panic. So they gave us some things to do and a special CD you’re supposed to listen to daily.

The CD sounds like songs with really terrible audio. But it’s going to help train your ears to recognize near and far sounds better, which in turn should help your balance issues. I’m also supposed to correct your crawling when I see you doing your “one legged monkey crawl”. I’ve been following you around to try and do this. You hate it. I’m supposed to correct the way you sit. You hate that. I’m supposed to make you squat, then stand. You hate it. You really hate it, kiddo.

You get really frustrated. It breaks my heart to see you clench your fists and shake uncontollably and cry. You’re mad at me. And I get it. But too bad, munchkin. You’re going to have to deal with my annoying tugging and correcting. Because I want what’s best for you. I’m not your friend. A friend would tell you that it’s no big deal that you’re a little behind and to keep doing things the way you want to do them. Your mom, however, knows how important this is. This milestone is going to lead to the next and the next and the next. It’s going to mean so much for your confidence. And you can do this, honey. You can and you will. You’re scared and that’s so okay. But we can’t let fear stop us. Or stubbornness.

We go back for another physical therapy session in two weeks. And that’s fine. The fact that you’re dealing with this perception issue and need help from a physical therapist is more than fine. It doesn’t make you any less super. You are brilliant and hilarious and adorable. And when we need help, we ask for it. Because there’s no shame in that. I’m so proud to be your mom, Avery.

But I am going to tick you off. I’m gonna make you mad now and for the rest of my life. Because I love you. And I know how incredible and capable you are. We’ll get over this hump together. And then we’ll gear up for the next one. You have two parents who would do absolutely anything for you, except be your friend. We love you too much to do that.

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