If you follow the Unruffledmum on Instagram you’ll have noticed a few shots of Ariella walking as of late. It’s been a really difficult journey to watch as her parent, she started walking holding on hand on the 28th of March and then in June she amazed us by walking from room to room all by herself for several days. The day I announced this great achievement on my personal Facebook she stopped and she stopped completely, refusing to walk the smallest of steps between two people and certainly not by herself to a location in the room.
The lag coincided with some of my sickest weeks with my current pregnancy and It definitely seemed rather daunting that I may end up with two children come January who cannot walk, not ideal at all given we have eighteen steps from our door down to ground level. But you come up with ways of coping and certainly I began to rethink how to cope in that scenario.
After about eight weeks of not a huge amount of progression gross motor wise we realised she wanted us to sit down, she would only walk between us if both of us were sat and if one of us tried to stand up while she walked between us she would immediately stop walking and fall to the ground. So we did this every evening, with Ariella pacing the hallway back and forth – slowly Jamie would shuffle backwards (while still sat!) further and further and bit by bit Ariella gained confidence. Ariella really finds the outside scary, she cries if she has to walk on or touch grass. We would take her to the park and sit down further and further way from each other making her walk the long stretches between us. Eventually we moved to disappearing still sat down behind rooms, over time walking clicked in and sometime in August just before we headed off to Barcelona she could walk.
At present she walks from one point to another, she can stop midway and stand for a few seconds, she often prefers to walk and her walking over time is becoming less awkward looking and more fluid. She has learnt to turn herself while walking, turn herself while standing to – set off – by herself rather than needing to hold our hands first. Sometimes I catch her walking in the corner of my eye and I’m still surprised, it hasn’t quite sunk in yet – we’ve watched every single piece of her development down to the smallest detail piece itself together. I think that’s one of the best things about developmental delay, you don’t miss a thing.
Although the last two months have been a bit regressive in terms of gross motor she has progressed so much in other areas of her development. Pretend play has exploded, I often now see her playing with her dolls, talking to them and putting them to sleep. Making pretend food in her kitchen, making soup, cutting vegetables, drinking from her tea set with dainty fingers. Her happy land set has seen a renewed spike of activity, with Susie and Savannah showing their faces once more – we even purchased a red bus for her as her reward for staying in bed until the sun came up using her Groclock. It’s so much easier to live with her at the moment when she is showing an interest in her toys rather than just throwing them around, I’m sure it’s less frustrating for both of us.
Ariella has a fantastic memory, it’s definitely her thing. She remembers numbers, counting, the alphabet, object flash cards very quickly and it’s lovely to see these things spreading out across her play. Social development too has just blossomed, she loved spending time with all the adults around her in Barcelona – taking home many of the funny things they shared. She is still shaking items in her hands left and right now and often talks of each of our friends in turn.
In short its been a really uplifting month a brilliant end to Summer 17′, I’ve been feeling better and Ariella has been making huge leaps in progress developmentally. She’s lovely nursery, she is really changing from a baby to a little girl and her development is either catching up or progress which is all we can really ask for! I’m so looking forward to Autumn, my next goal is to crack her anxiety and aggression. Some of the routines and anxiety behaviour is really limiting her outside play, I’m hoping that her occupational therapy assessment next month might help us understand which area to focus on to help. For now however we continue to just compared sizes of bites between us and hope that eventually this too will change.