January 23, 2012

The Tortoise Has Great Hair

When Jack ran his first 50m sprint in the school athletics competition at age five, he slowed down just near the end of the race to wave at us in the stands. Was he the fastest runner? No. But you've never seen a more gorgeous smile, nor a kid who could rock a yellow polo shirt, baggy maroon shorts and sticky-up bed-hair quite like our Jack that day. And if there was a competition for the best 'saunter to the finish line', that blue ribbon would have gone STRAIGHT to the pool room!

Now it seems our little Francesca, in all her roly poly wonder, has inherited the family 'tortoise' syndrome. Despite meeting all other milestones on or before time, including pincer grip, first year molars, the ability to spot a Cheerio on the floor from 50 paces and the skill of exceptional adorableness, by 12 months she had still failed to crawl, let alone walk. Which was a problem, mainly because she was getting too damn heavy to carry around everywhere.

I started to get a bit concerned about this when she turned 10 months old and was still sitting on her comfortable, nappy-cushioned bottom, while all the other babies in mother's group crawled or walked around her, or used her variously as a scratching post, a mounting post or as a poledancing pole. She would just sit there, busting a few yoga moves such as Sitting With Octopus Arms and Sitting Pretty.

Enter Janet, the baby physio, who diagnosed Francesca with slightly low muscle tone. Now, despite the lovely Janet emphasising the word 'slightly' and telling me not to worry and that Francesca would be crawling very soon and was perfect in every other possible way, I still went home and Googled 'low muscle tone'.

Because I am an idiot.

And yes people, there is such a thing as too much information. Too much unnecessarily scary information designed to send parents into a sinister future vortex where your baby's movement and speech will be affected forever so they will never walk, run or be able to tell people that the rain in Spain falls mainly in the plain. If you have a baby that isn't reaching their gross motor milestones, just do yourself a favour and NEVER GOOGLE 'LOW MUSCLE TONE'. That is all.

So Janet sent us off with lots of homework, our favourite being to strap Francesca's thighs together with matching sweatbands (and you know you want to see THAT picture)!

The idea behind this innovative exercise was to force her knees to stay together so that when she knelt up or tried to get on all fours, her legs wouldn't splay out like a frog. It also adds a degree of modesty don't you think? We may reintroduce the concept when she turns 16. Do sweatbands come in metal? With locks?

I digress.

The other problem seemed to be that our little princess had an aversion to kneeling on floorboards. Because they're so hard and hurty-hurty on a gal's delicate little knees don't y'know. So we got some of those ugly foam tiles and tried to encourage her to kneel up to grab toys from an elevated height. It was working really well until she decided that it was much more fun to eat foam than kneel on it.

Then she discovered that it was ever so much easier to shuffle around on one's bottom. We'd flip her on all fours and she'd flip right back over on her bottom. And so we have a bottom shuffler (with the unexpected but delightful bonus of having our floors bottom-swept daily).

There were tears, oh yes, there were tears as we worked our way through Janet's list of baby physio exercises. At one stage I may or may not have told our tiny, innocent baby daughter who was doing the best she could to HARDEN THE HECK UP.

So did she get there?

Watch and find out . . .

Music "I Feel The Earth Move" courtesy of Carole King
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