A Mighty Worrier

Posted: June 3rd, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Doctors, Misc Neuroses, Paigey Waigey Wiggle Pop, Parenting, Walking | 7 Comments »

Worrying is like paying interest on money you may never borrow.

I’m pretty sure that quote’s from Stuart Smalley, the daily affirmation spewing self help guru Al Franken used to play on SNL. And it’s brilliant. I mean, I don’t even know who any modern day philosophers are. Which is just as well, really. I’m content having Smalley as my Nietzsche.

Though truth be told, I still am worried.

Worried about little Miss Paigey. Sweet, precious dumpling of all dumplings, who, despite being 16 months old now, has apparently sworn off ever learning to walk. Something I wouldn’t have necessarily been too concerned about, if it weren’t for her doctor not liking it. And determining that we need to have her ASSESSED.

The thing is, I used to spend a fantastic amount of time worrying. My father is a world-class worrier, so I’ve learned from one of the greats. But strangely, as a mother, I’m really not at all neurotic.

It’s kind of like how you can develop allergies at a late age, or have your hair go straight after a pregnancy or something. I mean, I birthed these babies—beings I adore and cherish with a maniacal fervor—who you’d think’d be the perfect subjects for excessive irrational fears and fretfulness. Yet somehow, I’ve always just felt in my no-longer-as-taught-as-it-once-was gut, that they’re alright. That whatever little thing came up, would turn out okay.

But as some weird consolation prize for being so even-keeled, I get this walking thing. It’s like there’s some maternal anxiety load-balancing taking place. Like some Greater Being decided that some woman who’s out there devouring her stomach with stress that her four-year-old might not get into Princeton some day, that she got some sort of temporary respite from it all, and me, who’s been sailing along just fine, thanks, was given a Gross Motor Skills Delayed child to up my blood pressure.

And so, taking the bait, I go to that inevitable Mama place, wondering, “What did I do to make this happen? How’s this clearly my fault?” And, sure, I’ve expended a lot of energy infantalizing Paigey. Wanting her to stay my wee baby forevermore, and not grow up and go off to the mall or the reservoir or whatever teenage haven is hip 15 years from now, and abandon her adoring Mama. Yes I’ve thought those stay-a-sweet-immobile-baby thoughts. But I’ve never bound her legs to prevent her from crawling or anything. I mean, it’s not like I’ve knocked her down when she’s tried to pull herself up on the coffee table.

Because, sadly, she’s never really tried to pull herself up. And she’s not even crawling “right” either. She sort of scoots along on her bottom from a seated position. Uses her legs against the floor in a windshield wiper sweep to pull herself forward. And sure, when she gets up to full throttle, the girl can moooove.

But it’s just off. Way off.

Now, ask anyone whose child is 15 or so, and they’ll hurry to tell you how their kid didn’t walk until they were, like, five. That they never crawled or scooted or anything and then one day just sprang up and started walking. How the only word their kid could say until age 12 was “baa-baa.” And how today they’re enrolled at MIT and are champion breast-strokers. (Swimmers that is…)

And don’t get me wrong, I LOVE hearing about other kids who were worse off than Paigey. I mean, no parent’s rambling tale about their child is more interesting then when it’s being told just to make you feel like your kid’s superior to theirs.

Bring it on, people! The phone lines are open.

Alas, the pit of my stomach has been telling me Paige’ll be okay. We’ve already got her a great—get this—pediatric chiropractor. (I know, I know, I’ve been living in California too long.) And next week she’s getting some thorough long-awaited assessment by some state-sponsored place that’ll eventually hook us up with physical therapy for FREE. Plus, I got a lead on a nice local pediatric orthopedic guy. And when I say “nice” it’s to say he’s married to the friend of a friend, and is known to be, well, friendly. Unclear still whether or not he’s actually good at his job.

So we’re doing all these things. And even though she’s squawking during the chiro sessions, bawling and looking at me beseechingly as if to say, “Wouldn’t rummaging through my play kitchen be a much more fun use of this time?” Even though she’s not liking having her legs prodded and massaged and moved, at least I know that it’s for the best. And that in a matter of minutes she’ll be dry-cheeked and peering through her fingers, flirting with someone in the waiting room as I pay up and schedule another visit next week.

Today though, for some reason, all the things I was told we need to do—stretch her this way, encourage crawling that way, decrease her time in the Ergo carrier (my preferred mode of baby haulin’)—all the directives today seemed daunting. Seemed to reinforce in my mind that there is something wrong. That it won’t get better overnight. And that it’ll take more therapy sessions where Paige cries from discomfort or frustration, and Kate tests the patience of the once-friendly receptionist, and I realize that despite how many snacks I packed, it still wasn’t enough.

Apparently this is some parental rite of passage I must endure, so 15 years from now I can prattle on to someone else—some fretful parent of a late walker, or slow talker, or bad sleeper—letting them know that we went through it too (and far worse than them), and that eventually everything turned out just fine.


7 Comments on “A Mighty Worrier”

  1. 1 becca said at 11:49 pm on June 3rd, 2009:

    Joke as you will, I am thinking about you guys and hope you are hanging tough. No one wants to hear the MD say anything other than your kids are spectacular. Smooches to you both…

  2. 2 Michael (or Mike - now you make me self-conscious!) said at 2:46 am on June 4th, 2009:

    Every parent goes through this with something – all three of mine have had their serious challenges. Bottom line is that it’s great that you are dealing with whatever it is. Thinking of you… xoxo

  3. 3 margaret said at 2:58 am on June 4th, 2009:

    aww this sounds so hard. i’m glad she has you advocating for her and here is my official “my nephew didnt walk and had to have braces on his legs like some dickensian urchin and now has the sleek running limbs of a kenyan roadrunner” obligatory reassurance.

  4. 4 kristen said at 6:38 am on June 4th, 2009:

    thank you thank you thank you everyone for the sweet thoughts and assurances.
    margaret, your comment made me LOL. utterly hilarious.

  5. 5 Lori said at 8:11 am on June 4th, 2009:

    You are handling this with your usual mix of wit, humor, and strength. Those girls are lucky to have you as their mama….love you.

  6. 6 The Subtle Rudder said at 7:50 am on June 6th, 2009:

    According to my mom, all of her 3 daughters sat like fat, happy lumps until at least 18 months. This was a while ago, so the flagging of worrisome symptoms by pediatric officialdom was generations away. Mom says we were just thinking, that our brains were so extremely creative that we kept ourselves quite busy and entertained without any need to move. We’re all fine movers now, but still appreciate a good, creative, loungey think-without-movement. Sometimes it involves television, but usually books or the interwebs. Good luck with Paigey; I’m sure she’s making up fabulous stories in her head, and she’ll move when she decides she needs farther-flung inspiration.

  7. 7 Mindy Mobley said at 11:38 am on June 8th, 2009:

    I normally hate it when people say, “Oh, I know just how you feel,” when really you suspect that they don’t, but I know just how you feel….and really I do! And I also hate when people say, “oh, everything will be fine!” But I really do think everything will be fine! It is such a worry, and as you know, having been in your exact place, I feel for you and Mark. But just remember the little wild child who was running around Terry’s porch…she looked JUST like little Paige. I’m thinking of you all.
    And by the way, I am now officially addicted to your blog!! It was soooo great to see you!! And L.V. Harkness is extremely appreciative of the press!! :)

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