Brenna is 12.5 months right now (though not for long!), and for some reason, I remember so many things about this stage of life with Connor. Twelve and a half months.
At 12.5 months, Connor started walking. There was no stepping and then falling down. He’s always been a cautious kid, and he finally started walking after I’d lean him up against a couch, step away, and then he’d charge toward me.
At 12.5 months, I stopped nursing Connor. We’d been through one whole year of nursing together, and I felt so much success about that. But I was sure ready for some freedom too 🙂
At 12.5 months, Connor began using American Sign Language (after we received Baby Signing Time DVDs for his birthday – which we LOVE). He first signed milk at this age (and then moved on to dozens of others!)
At 12.5 months, we got our first professional family photos taken (by Kyle Shultz, who also did our family portraits last summer). I still have these photos hanging all over our house. Connor was crawling all over but barely walking, smiling a big goofy grin, and clapping his hands with wild abandon.
At 12.5 months, life with Brenna is very, very different. I am long past even subconsciously comparing her to other children her age because there isn’t anything to compare. It’s no secret that Brenna is very behind, especially with physical development. Most of her peers are walking, and she isn’t even crawling or scooting yet. And that’s OK. Brenna’s skin is restrictive, and so her muscles and tendons have grown tight as well. Her hips and hamstrings are especially tight, and her shoulder muscles are very weak.
But between physical delays and oral intake, I have been feeling the pressure lately. When your child is very behind in areas like this, there is no “just playing.” There is holding the toy even farther up to stretch her shoulder muscles, there is tummy time at small intervals throughout the day so she doesn’t get too upset by it, there is a lot of offering food to her – a cracker or a taste of a sauce on her pacifier – just to hope that she’ll try one little chew or lick.
And there is some guilt at the end of the day if I realize I didn’t do enough of these things.
With her birthday and the crazy holiday season behind us now, we have the whole year ahead of us. We have a little more flexibility in our days right now…to work on progress.
And I’m really excited about the progress she is making, just after several therapy sessions (through Early Intervention). She’s reaching higher, she’s opening her hands more and she’s tolerating tummy time so much better. She’s even rolling over now (and not screaming about it 🙂 )
I’m so proud of each of these milestones that she’s hitting because it doesn’t come easily to her like it does to other children. It makes me that much more appreciative…I even got a little choked up when she rolled over for the first time.
Some of my New Year’s resolutions included Brenna’s progress…and I’m excited to see how she will develop, especially with all of the work we are putting into it now. But sometimes, I just want to “be”, to not have to think about how far she’s reaching or how much her torso is pivoting. So I’m going to give myself some grace too, to push her gently when she needs it, but also to enjoy our times together without worrying about her development.