What babies do not know

What Babies Do Not Know.
A friend called me recently and asked to stop by to have a look at her daughter who just turned six months. Seeing little humans is always a pleasure and good therapy for me. Besides, I know perfectly well that I am often regarded as an authority. Just because I brought up three kids I am supposed to know it all. No, I never dispute that. So I baked some nice stuff as gifts and dutifully trotted to my friend’s place. As any young mother, in spite of not being too young, she tends to flutter at the merest hint of “something wrong”. Her baby began to turn laboriously which is fine; then she managed to sit, all well and good. She immediately rolled over onto her side, then on her stomach, normal. And then she began to crawl “and I was told she is doing it wrong!” Aha. That’s where I come in. I settled down and patiently waited though I knew what was meant. The baby learned how to turn onto her stomach, then she experimented further and discovered she could crawl, sort of. The thing is, the baby’s spine holds firm when they are about eight months old, not at six. Most babies start crawling or rather moving on all fours then. When their spine is not too strong yet they either are content with roll-overs, or try to crawl on their stomach, propping themselves on their elbows and pushing forward one side at a time, rather like soldiers do, sort of slithering along. It does look a bit weird but certainly not wrong. There is no way to stop them and turn the clock back. Once they discovered this new freedom of movement they just keep on going and we have to run after them. They may skip that crawling on all fours all together because once they manage to crawl on their stomachs and grab something, anything for support they may raise themselves eventually to their full tiny height and more or less stand on wobbly legs. I confess when one of our kids did that I was quite scared and even more so when my pediatrician told me that I had to somehow restrain the baby or her legs will turn out crooked or her spine will bend. But I could see that there was no way to stop the process. By the time she was ten months she was walking. I told my friend that and she calmed down at once because the simple fact that somebody else’s baby did the same thing and turned out OK helps immensely. Another crisis was averted when she mentioned that the baby had no teeth yet, and aren’t they all supposed to have the first tiny two top teeth by the time they are six months old? Yes this happens quite often. But some babies show the first teeth before they are even five months while others may not have any teeth until they are ten or eleven months old.
And so I relayed the greatest wisdom which I learned many years ago from an experienced friend. It is really simple. While there are approximate charts, rules and regulations, they do not always work because babies do not know! Your baby crawls strangely? Check with your pediatrician, but remember that the baby does not know what is “right”. They only know what they can or cannot do. For them everything is new, any step is an uncharted territory, every move is an adventure. And so it is for us parents, double.


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