Hey guys! We’re going to completely ignore the time jump here and pretend I’ve been blogging regularly all along, okay?
So we had some great milestones and one crappy milestone in the last couple of weeks.
I’ll start with the good.
Jacob is 18 months old! How did THAT happen? He’s walking, he’s running, he’s climbing, he’s dancing, he’s destroying entire cities, the works. And even more exciting, he graduated from physical therapy!
I could lie and say that working on my book (I have a new agent and I adore her–she’s had fantastic insight and I DID work my butt off over the summer on it to transform the manuscript into something I’m truly proud of) was why I stopped blogging, but the real reason was Jacob wasn’t walking yet. And that felt like a huge red flag that I just didn’t want to put out there on top of all of our other gross motor issues.
He started walking at 15.5 months, which technically isn’t even late; anything before 18 months is considered normal. But social media is absolutely soul crushing when you feel like your child isn’t achieving a milestone and everyone you’ve ever known is posting videos of their babies, who are months younger than your babies, walking, running marathons, and speedskating in the Olympics at 11 months old.
I did a lot of soul searching while I worried if Jacob would ever walk. On a rational level, I knew he would because you don’t see people crawling down the aisle at the supermarket. But I realized what an insensitive jerk I had frequently been to other new parents. I honestly never meant to be (except to Karen* from fifth grade. I still hate you Karen.), but because I walked at nine months, I assumed that any baby who didn’t walk that early was behind.
*Karen is not her real name. But I can’t print her real name because then she’ll know how much I hate her.
So as we crawled further and further past Jacob’s first birthday without any independent footsteps, I mentally kicked myself for asking my hair stylist (I adore her–she’s no Karen!) if her nine-month-old twins were walking yet. It doesn’t seem like it would be a loaded question–until you have a kid, at which point it feels judgmental and like it’s pointing out a flaw. Sorry, Christy, I’m a monster.
Our physical therapist also pointed out that Jacob’s feet were overpronating and therefore still not normal, so it felt like there would never be an end to our days of physical therapy. That was really hard, and I started making Hubby take Jacob to his appointments largely because I couldn’t handle the emotional toll of being told the next thing that was going to be an issue.
But then, one day, as we tried to coax him to take a couple of steps between us, Jacob did it! Those couple of steps spread to across the room by the end of the day. And soon enough, he was walking everywhere. And now? God help you if you try to pick him up when he wants to be walking (as he made clear when I took him to TJ Maxx and let him get down from the cart to walk around. When it was time to leave, I definitely looked like I was abducting him as I carried him out of the store, screaming bloody murder and thrashing like a dying fish.
So hearing that he was finally caught up on all of his motor skills felt like the untying of a heavy stone around my neck. Or like a really drastic haircut (seriously, I have a LOT of hair. It’s heavy. There’s a reason I love my stylist!) when your head feels lighter and all of that neck tension just melts away.
Of course, we’ve also had less happy milestones like our first SUPER FUN emergency room visit because Jacob banged his forehead on the ONLY table in our entire house that wasn’t covered in protective foam. We literally had ten inches of unprotected furniture in the house and that one span of table edge acted as a siren, luring Jacob’s perfect, unblemished forehead to crash upon it.
I was peeing at the time (ah the life of a mother, when the bathroom feels like a refreshing break) and heard Hubby screaming for me at the top of his lungs.
When I scream like that, it means there’s a spider. But Hubby is the spider-killer, so I didn’t know what to expect. I did NOT expect to see the two of them looking like the pig-blood scene in Carrie, but thankfully Jacob did not begin using his blood-soaked powers to destroy the entire town.
I surprised myself by staying calm, throwing snacks in my bag (it was close to dinner time), grabbing shoes for Jacob and myself, and hustling us all off to the closest emergency room, only 83 percent sure that the ER was going to call Child Protective Services on us for allowing this to happen to our child.
After some frantic texting to my brother (the ER doctor), my best friend (the ER mom veteran), and my parents (the jackasses who made jokes when my poor baby was bleeding from the head–not you mom, you were fine. It was dad!), we opted to let the ER doctor glue his wound closed instead of calling for a plastic surgeon. It was pretty superficial with very clean lines and, worst case scenario, he could be Harry Potter for Halloween.
The ER staff couldn’t have been sweeter. Not only did they NOT report us to CPS, they reassured us that this happens to their own children as well, and the doctor and nurse sang to Jacob as they glued his forehead (he was screaming because they had to swaddle him in a papoose to keep him still. Neither Jacob nor I enjoyed that part of the experience as I huddled in the corner weeping as soon as I no longer had to be the responsible adult), and we were back home an hour and a half after the incident.
Where I put the baby to bed, then poured myself a GIGANTIC glass of wine and called it dinner. But when I texted a friend a picture of my dinner, he replied with a picture of his own liquid dinner. He has four kids. So apparently it doesn’t get easier and there’s a reason that the Olney Safeway has such a large wine selection.
Cheers to all of you other parents! We kept our kids alive to ram their heads into a table another day!