Tuesday, January 4, 2011

FiNALLY CRAWLiNG - a lecture in patience

Just a couple of days before Christmas Leander has suddenly moved forwards. I had to watch him a while until he did it again. And again. And again. It was such a relief. For all of us.

I am not the most patient person in the world and my husband is neither. So you do the math on how much of patience our son has gained from both of us. And this is why the last few months have been quite tough for the Hilmar family. And a great lecture in patience.
When Leander was 6 months old I said to my husband "Won't be long until he's crawling. Look at his moves." Had I known by then how long it would still take I would have gone mad that moment.
Don't get me wrong. I was never one of those mothers desperate to have an early starter or worried he would be a bit behind in his development. And even if he would have been - with the surgery he had the best excuse for it. It was his frustration and his impatience that drove us all a bit mad. I was annoyed with Pikler and Gerber saying "watch your child. observe. Enjoy what he can do today and don't push him into doing something he is not ready for...." etc. I knew it was true and I tried. But on days when Leander wouldn't do anything but roll onto his belly and start crying out of frustration because he didn't know how to go on - it was hard. He started this game in the morning before I had finished my first cup of coffee and I had no idea how we both would survive the day.
Then, one day he discovered how to stand on hands and knees and this seemed to give him some self confidence. Something had happened and he realised this. Slowly. Again I said "He is close."
He was swinging back and forth while standing on hands and knees. Often. Sometimes he would give himself a push from his knees without moving his arms so he would fall head first on the floor. Tears. For weeks... I gave up on saying something.

A couple of weeks before Christmas I seriously thought he would never crawl. According to my mother in law my husband never did so I thought it's just in his genes. I was ready for it. I had realised that he was more into his fine motor skills anyway. When he found a toy with a label, a string or something he would try and grab that with his index finger and thumb. It was so cute to watch. Those little fingers. Trying to get pieces of fluff from the floor (telling me to clean up again?). So I figured he would do puzzles before he would set his feet on the ground.

And this was when he started to move. Slowly. First he was creeping. Using his arms to pull him along the floor. The next day you could see how he was looking for support from his legs. A couple of days later he was using arms and legs. And now he is just after me very very quickly. It is so great to watch. But the best thing is - he is so happy. So relieved. We have made his room and the living room safe for him to explore and this is what he does all day. We have removed the playpen and used pieces of that to secure places where he shouldn't be (near the stereo and plants etc.).

Interestingly the same day he started to move forward he sat up for the first time without falling right over again. It must have been absolutely exciting days for him. What I found most amazing was to watch his astonishment. He would sit up straight, lift his arms and watch them, turn them and twist his hands.

As if he could not believe that these were the same hands and arms that have just supported him on the floor. Over and over again he would hold his arms in front of him and watch. I was stunned. Pikler was right. Gerber was right. Sit and watch. Observe. Seriously, who needs TV ???


  1. Congratulations Leander, on your momentous accomplishments! And thank you Nadine, for sharing your observations, and (sometimes frustrating) experience of supporting Leander on his way to discovering how to become mobile. This is just so cool! Your description is so clear, I feel as if I was there watching myself. The pictures are priceless. What a gift you've given your boy, by sitting on your hands (so to speak) and refraining from pushing him along, instead letting him find his own way, and claim the joy of mastery as his own!

  2. Thanks Lisa.
    There were days where I felt like a broken record player singing the same line over and over again. "I hear you, I know you are frustrated and you want to move... bla bla bla." But I knew it would be worth it and to see him happily crawling around and about is so great. And I enjoy that TV live show that is on every day...

  3. I think you have summed this up perfectly. It seems like such an excruciating wait when a child is practicing those movements. But then, as you say once you see a child crawl comfortably, and then they move into the sitting position at the same time it all just clicks into place. I observe that children can often be so much more settled within themselves too when this happens. Once they can crawl and get to the things they desire there seems to be a big weight lifted off their shoulders. All of that hard work has paid off!

  4. Exactly.
    And what I found rather frustrating were those comments by friends with babies like "oh you better enjoy that he's not crawling around and about because then you wish he would still be just lying on his back." That's so not true. He is so much more relaxed now so I am too and since the flat is safe and secure we are both happy people.