“So, why isn’t she walking yet?”
This is a question I hear FAR too often! Not just from parents but Doctors too…
I mean, really? I don’t know Einstein…how about you enlighten ME?
Yes, my daughter is almost 4 years old. Yes, I realised a LONG time ago that 18 months is usually the cut off age for walking. Yes, I have done every therapy and exercise you can possibly think of to help her walk. Yes, she has Down syndrome. Yes, I realise that MOST kids with Down syndrome walk late, but not THAT late.
What do these people expect me to say exactly?
Don’t they think that I’ve tormented myself over this exact question every day since she turned 18 months old?
Don’t they realise the heartbreaking realisations that come with this ignorant question?
Do they think I just lock her up in a box that she can only sit in all day?
For goodness sake.
I understand, you’re trying to make conversation. This isn’t a slight against me, and you’re not trying to make me feel bad. I get where the heart of this question comes from.
But it gets to me. God damn, it gets to me.
After she hit 18 months, it was a little disheartening, but reasonable.
“Okay, she has Down syndrome, you knew it was going to take extra work…”
I looked up other parents on facebook and BabyCentre and googled the heck out of “Typical walking age + Down syndrome”.
I poured my heart out to my family and they all patted me on the back and tried to make me feel better.
‘Okay..so she’ll probably be walking by 2. I have to give her extra leeway, that has to be expected.’
2 years old comes and goes…
Her 2nd birthday was great but a tad heart breaking. Truly. Mainly because I remember what Hannah did for her 2nd birthday. She stood next to the table. She sang Happy Birthday. She blew out her candles. She ran to open her presents.
It was a hard day.
‘But that’s okay. Just because she has Down syndrome, doesn’t mean she’s going to be exactly the same as all of the other kids with Down syndrome. You know this.’
When she was born, our Health Nurse gave us a ‘milestone sheet for DS’, which stated that she could be walking from anywhere between 9 to 76 months.
Everyone wants their child to be the genius. Everyone would love to have the prodigy. Everyone wants their child to prove everybody wrong and defy the odds.
‘Surely, she’ll definitely be walking by the time she’s 3.’
3 years old comes and goes.
And you know what? This is what I tell all of these people who ask this stupid question without thinking:
“I stopped stressing about that awhile ago and realised she will walk in her own time, not mine. And that’s okay.”
I can’t give my daughter a deadline. I worked harder than ever trying to get her to reach that milestone before 3 and it didn’t happen. I stressed and gave myself a migraine every single day over it. That wasn’t helping. Comparisons don’t help anybody.
When Heidi walks, everyone will know. When she walks, there will be the biggest celebration that has ever happened. Ever.
At the same time, IF she NEVER walks, we’ll be okay. Truly.
(Heidi took 15 steps on her own this week!!!)