This time last year, my child wasn’t walking.
We had yet to face that dreaded day when we would be hurried from a health visitor to a doctor to a hospital, to be told our bendy, non-walking 20 month old may have something wrong with her hips.
I was concerned, but not overly. Whenever anyone commented on the fact that my baby (who still very much looked like a baby, rather than a toddler) was slow to “get going”, I just shrugged my shoulders and replied that she’d, “do it when she’s ready”.
It would be six months before we’d be told she’d likely need physio throughout her childhood, that her fleet were “very flat”, that it would be a waiting game before we knew if she suffered from full-blown Hypermobility Syndrome, or if she was just a “bit too bendy”.
Looking back, it was a huge blow to be told my little girl had something “wrong” with her. I’d buried the paranoid first time mum deep down and attempted an Earth Mother approach, only to go off the scale with worry as soon as it was confirmed she faced a few challenges in the walking stakes. Although I was overcome with relief that she wouldn’t need surgery or a cast – and of course I knew things could be SO much worse – there was still a little part of me that felt sad.
I looked at her special hospital issue shoes, saw her struggling to get up and play with her peers, watched as she shrank within herself rapidly losing that sparkle and diva streak I’d come to know and love. And I wondered if that was it. Would my child always be held back by these wonky limbs we’d passed down to her? Would she ever just be, you know, a spirited toddler?
And the answer is, of course, yes.
This weekend I watched as my toddler – now very much toddling – ran through puddles, walked hand-in-hand with her dad, threw pebbles in a lake and jumped to make huge splashes of water drip down into her wellies.
And at bedtime, as I readied her pyjamas to cover her long-limbed, bendy little body, I heard her making whirring, zoomy noises behind me.
“What are you doing poppet?” I asked. “I plane Mummy,” She replied. “I flying”.
I turned to see my formerly non-walking toddler mimicking an aeroplane as she raced around the room.
From crawling to flying. Oh far we’ve come.