So it’s finally happened…
Harriet has walked, just a day short of 22 months old.
While the endeavour reminded me of that scence in Bambi where he was struggling to stay upright on the ice, she was a proud little girl nonetheless, grinning from ear to ear with her mouth wide open, half in delight and probably half in surprise at her legs and feet doing what she’s been willing them to do for weeks.
Mummy was just as open mouthed and just as proud, hugging her, now unsupported, little, warm body. And suddenly, just like that, she’s grown up. She may be walking like she’s a baby giraffe on stilts and spending just as much time picking herself up off her bottom, but she’s now a toddler by action, not just by defined age- no longer an imposter to the title.
At her last physio session the verdict was that she was ready to walk and would do it in her own time which could be days or weeks. It was days.
Harriet was referred for physio when she wasn’t ticking the boxes on many of her gross motor skills at her 10 month health visitor check. She didn’t start pulling herself up to standing until around 14 months and crawling began at 15 months- a time when many of her little friends had already mastered walking.
I’d never been really worried as anything serious was eliminated at the outset by our extremely lovely physio. She soon judged it to be down to Harriet’s very flexible joints that were making it an extra challenge for her to get the stability and traction she needed. This is widely considered to be hypermobility, and while this was suspected by our physio, it’s apparently something that can’t be definitively diagnosed until about five years old.
Harriet’s lack of mobility has been more frustrating than anything, for her and me. We’ve been confined to the buggy, not yet able to enjoy traditional toddler opportunities- no running down the beach, splashing in puddles or making the (sweaty) most of soft play. The day to day practicalities have been just as much a headache. Last week, parked right outside the post office, I had to get her in her buggy just to nip in for two minutes to post a parcel as I couldn’t carry both.
Now I feel a new world is in sight for both of us. Harriet’s can really begin to open up and I can give my back a rest… though I’m under no illusion that having a ‘walking’ toddler is less challenging than one who is yet to find her feet…