There is nothing on this planet that prepares you for being a parent and I mean nothing. Your entire life is flipped upside down overnight. I always love the people that are all “I’m exhausted, we just got a puppy so we are prepping for when we have a baby”. I either spit out whatever I am drinking or I normally have to physically hold my hand down from back handing whoever utters those words. There is nothing, absolutely nothing that preps you for this life event. There is also no tired you will ever feel that is the same as the tired you feel for those first few months or even first year. There is just no way around it and yes it is all more than worth it but man it is not easy.
What I think is one of the more underrated aspects of those early years is the amount of patience you need while being thrown so much information about what your baby should be doing at this stage and what they shouldn’t be doing at that stage and when they should be walking and at what month they should have teeth etc. etc. Whether it is from your pediatrician or the millions of articles online you’re constantly being bombarded by timelines and goals that inevitably your baby won’t meet, and that is perfectly fine. The worst source of information is probably your neighbor or your girlfriend whose baby started walking at 8 months and had teeth at 6 always bragging about these milestones and questioning why your child hasn’t started yet while simultaneously posting photos and videos about their “miracle child”. My response to all of this is please have patience and block out all of the noise. There are actually studies that say walking to soon can cause issues and lead to physical therapy down the road since your child’s core might not be strong enough yet or her legs developed enough to handle this motion. Please don’t be that person who sits around all day and passes your child back and forth hoping to catch (i.e force) them to “walk” so you can post it on social media and brag to all your friends. The later your child walks the stronger they will be and more prepared they will be. Yes, there are kids who are ready earlier and physically advance faster than others but at this point what does it matter right? I get it it’s a big milestone but when she is a teenager does it matter if she started walking at 8 months or 15 months? Nope, walking early doesn’t mean your kid is going to be a professional athlete.
My wife and I have just lived through this scenario, we kept seeing children her age or younger walking around like little toddlers while our daughter would walk but only back and forth between the two us from a fairly short distance away. We knew she could do it she just didn’t have the confidence to take off on her own. It caused us a lot of stress and anxiety wondering if there was something wrong, or were we not practicing enough with her, or was it something we did? The answer is none of the above. Right around 14.5 months we were walking out of a restaurant one night with her holding my wife’s hand and like magic she dropped my wife’s hand and just starting walking on her own and from that point on each and every day she has got stronger and sturdier and more confident. The next day even she was getting up from a seated position like it was no big deal. I think a lot of that can be attributed to her waiting a bit longer to go off on her own; she was strong and more developed. It was such a burden off of our shoulders and just like that all those anxious and stress filled weeks and days were part of the past.
The moral of the story here is don’t rush your baby and always talk to your doctor. Our doctor for instance said to relax and be patient if your child is not walking by 16 months then you might need some therapy but until then she will walk when she is ready. Listen to the professional, don’t get sucked into social media and listening to other parents, your child will walk when she is good and ready. Encourage her and help her when she needs it and trust the process. Always remember there is no perfect path and there is no guidebook to parenting, we all do the absolute best that we can and that is good enough. Your child will hit all of these amazing milestones and you can look forward to each and every one whether that be earlier than expected or later than expected they are all so special.