Feed on

When Matt and I were in physics class 21 years ago (21 years ago!), our fabulous teacher G. Dewey Beadle once joked that a bad grade of Matt’s indicated “progression in the wrong direction.” It’s a physics joke; you’ll have to trust us that the joke was funny. (You really do, as I remember laughing but do not remember the exact meaning of “progression” within the context of physics.)  [I don’t think it had anything to do with physics per se — I just had several test scores in a row that were trending downward, and the way Mr. Beadle said that made it sound like we were analyzing experimental data.  For the record, I’m sure I got an A in the class.  mgw.]

Flash forward 21 years (21 years!), and I do believe Simon is progressing in the wrong direction, too. I quit reading What to Expect: The Toddler Years about the time Simon “should [have been] able to” walk well and “might be able to” do a host of other activities related to the bipedalism Simon has yet to discover. It was all too depressing.

Feeling a bit masochistic, I took the book out for another spin last night. At 16 months (Simon will be 16 months old Saturday) Simon “should be able to” imitate activities (check!) and scribble (not really, but I think he hates his toddler crayons). He “will probably be able to” use three words (check!) and “dump an object in imitation (What does this mean?). He “may possibly be able to” use six words (check!) and run (no comment), and he “may even be able to” kick a ball forward (with support, check!).

By seventeen months these stretch “may even be able to” goals include building a tower of four cubes (check!), identifying two items in a picture by pointing (check!), and throwing a ball overhand (check!). And by eighteen months he “may even be able to” identify a picture by naming (check!). Moving right along, Simon “may even be able to” build a tower of six cubes by 19 ½ months (check!).

Right then. Simon can build a tower of six cubes now-about four months ahead of the curve. He’d be able to go higher, but he can’t reach any higher. When he runs out of arm length, he looks for smaller cubes he can co-stack on larger ones. And those six words he may possibly have-he’s got about 10-12 of them. In fact, he added two more today: “do-do” for “window” and “no” for snow. He’s been able to kick a ball for about two weeks, he’s had an overhand throw for ages, he turns book pages like a champ. He can show me a cat or light in a book, and he’ll say “light” when I show him one in a book if he’s in the right mood.

With every passing week, Simon develops in new and fascinating ways. But I have to admit that at times I worry he’s progressing in the wrong direction. Not in the physics way-he’s not going backwards-but he keeps on making strides in the areas where he’s already successful, like fine motor and language skills, while making slow and painful gains in the gross motor skill area.

At some point I know he’s going to get up and walk. There’s nothing wrong with him; of course he’ll walk. But man, I am getting scared that I’m going to have a child with a 50+ word vocabulary, capable of simple sentences and elaborate block construction techniques, who still locomotes by scooting on his tush. I don’t expect Simon to be a jock and I’ll be frankly delighted if he’s on the brainy/artsy/sensitive side, but man alive it’s time for him to progress in the gross motor arena and get up, get up, GET UP already.

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