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I Didn't Let My Baby Learn How to Crawl

Photograph by Twenty20

My first daughter never really learned to crawl. Why?

Because I never put her down long enough to let her learn, that’s why.

Call me crazy all you want, but after I was hospitalized twice with postpartum complications with having her, I was determined to soak up every last minute with my baby girl. So, I did. I held her when I ate breakfast, I held her when I worked on my computer and I held her late at night, when we would stay up watching Conan O’Brien and I swore she would fake laugh along with me.

I held my daughter so much, in fact, that there was a running joke in my family about how I wouldn't "let" anyone else hold her. And it's true—I was pretty selfish with her. I knew that this would be the rare chance I had in my life to hold a baby as much as I possibly wanted, without a whole lot of other responsibilities. It was our first baby and I was working nights to support our family, which meant I tried to sneak in naps and baby snuggles whenever I could.

She may have never crawled on the 'right' timeline for a baby, but she did things on her own timeline.

All of that added up to an equation that saw my almost 10-month-old baby refusing to crawl. Ten months became almost 11 months and still, she was content to chill in my arms. People would wonder when my daughter would crawl, and there were times when I wondered myself if something could be wrong. But seeing that she was on track developmentally, and was obviously a healthy and happy kid, made me trust my gut that she would crawl when she was ready. And she did.

Finally, one day, just before her 1st birthday, when I had some work to do, I put her down at the other end of the room with some toys to play with. She was not pleased at all. After throwing a fit for a good 10 minutes, with no assistance from her mother (who knew darn well that she was fine), she finally did it. Sobbing dramatically with each movement, she placed one arm in front of her, then the other, inching her way forward toward me at my desk.

That day marked the one and only day my daughter crawled, because the very next morning, she decided she had had enough of that crawling business and started walking.

Despite me "holding her back," in the end, my daughter was fine, I was fine, and today, nine years later, she's doing just fine on her soccer team. You know what else? I'm 100 percent glad I soaked up that first baby stage as much as I wanted to. She may have never crawled on the "right" timeline for a baby, but she did things on her own timeline. And, honestly, she hasn’t stopped doing things her own way since, which isn't such a bad lesson to teach my daughter, after all.

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