Our daughter will soon be eight months old (so fast!) and is learning to crawl—wait, didn’t somebody already say that?—actually, she knows she wants to but can’t yet.

You can get charts telling you what your baby ought to be doing at five months, seven months, nine months, and they’re all just averages, which is to say wrong. There are two things you need to know about babies: First, they’re all different. Second, the first paragraph in Dr. Spock: You know more than you think you do, which is to say, a few months into your child’s life, you are now the world’s leading expert on this small and unformed, but doing the best she or he can with what she or he has, person, and don’t you forget it.

Anyhow, our girl could sit up confidently way ahead of what the charts said; per the charts she should have been crawling or rolling or otherwise mobile by now, but she just wasn’t interested. And her parents were co-conspirators; the great thing about a pre-crawling baby is that you can put her down on the floor and go and do what you need to do and when you come back, well, there she is.

Things changed; she’s noticed that there’s a horizon, even if it’s only what you can’t see behind the foot-stool. Starting from sitting up, the first step is a lunge aimed right (or left); then you have to extract the left (or right) leg from underneath you. That accomplished, you’re face-down and, you may well ask, what’s next?

At this point, I should observe that all the best parents’ references now recommend “tummy time”. Because in our SIDS-aware age, babies all sleep on their backs exclusively, to the extent that they have bald spots where the hair wears off.

Thus “tummy time” to develop neck strength. My little daughter and I are unconvinced; I because her neck is plenty strong, she because she hates being face-down.

But there’s no other way to learn to crawl. She’s tried a whole bunch of different twists and turns, none of which have yet worked. Until you watch a miniature human working through all the permutations of wiggling torso and arms and legs, very few of which lead anywhere, you can’t possibly appreciate how different we are from the other animals that learn how to stand in hours not months.

But anyhow, Lauren’s putting the folding gates in place blocking off the staircases, because when a human being, no matter how small, decides to go mobile, you know it won’t take long.


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From: Jonathan (Feb 04 2007, at 04:31)

Don't forget to lower the crib bed and/or raise the side of the crib. Our eight month old daughter went mobile, right over the side of the crib... By God's grace she seems to be OK!


From: Pete Lacey (Feb 04 2007, at 06:32)

My youngest is 13 months old, and has yet to crawl more than 6 inches. His preferred means of locomotion is to scoot along on his butt, which he can do at remarkable speeds. You can see this in action on my wife's blog: http://wanderingbarque.com/everfixedmark/2006/12/11/unsafe-at-any-speed/

In contrast, his older brother was crawling at 9 or 10 months and started walking on his first birthday.


From: Keith (Feb 04 2007, at 19:43)

My daughter, now almost 4, discovered rolling like a log at about six months. It used to be quite a sight, watching this little roly-poly arching her back or crunching her tummy to change course as she rolled through the house.

Then, one day, she decided she'd had enough of that about three months later. She then started clawing her way up to a standing position and started walking a couple of steps before falling into another roll.

As you may have guessed, we're still chasing her. :)



From: Andrew Phoenix (Feb 05 2007, at 06:57)

My little girl's 12 months and has been walking for the last 3 weeks or so... and she's a handful! My favourite aspect of this is that I've taught her to say "Boom" when she falls on her butt.


From: GIlbert Pilz (Feb 05 2007, at 17:08)

I've seen kids that never learn to crawl. They learn the tripod-like, one-arm, butt scoot (mentioned in an early comment) and progress from there to walking.


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