These are the feet of a 15-month-old who doesn’t want to walk.
Oh, she could walk if she wanted to do so. She’ll stand in the middle of a room for a full minute, by herself, giggling at whomever is cheering her on. And she’ll tease us by taking half a step before crouching back down on all fours and tearing off after a ball, or toy car, or large dog who doesn’t deserve the overjoyed pounding he’s about to get in the face. But she just. won’t. walk.
There’s other stuff she can do perfectly well. She can move up and down the stairs of our house more quickly than I can after, say, a hard work-out or anytime, actually, before my first cup of coffee. She’ll repeat words we say, then immediately incorporate them into her vocabulary (“Wow!” “Hungry!” “Tintinnabulation!”). If she hears her big sister ask if we have any candy, and if so may she have some, she’ll promptly drop whatever she’s doing and start reaching for the pantry. She knows how to put on pants, and shirts, and shoes. The kid ain’t dumb. And she refuses to walk.
Think about it: she can move around the house, under the radar, like an eel through water, slithering from this room into this, over obstacles, under tables, through legs. It’s excusable if she empties all of the socks from the bottom dresser drawer, because, well, it’s right there at eye level. All she has to do is stand in front of her sister with her arms raised, and she gets undivided attention, a devoted sister who will lead her around the room by the hands, just the two of them. She gets carried everywhere: into stores, from the car, up the stairs, to a room. Quinn’s not walking equals parental cuddling, whenever she wants. No wonder she’s not upwardly mobile. She is the baby, after all. And as long as she’s crawling, she is doted on, constantly hugged, needs met. She’ll stand by herself in the middle of the room, not moving, because she knows someone, soon, will come over to see her.
Smart cookie, this one. As I type this, she just crawled onto a rocking horse by herself, chuckling with delight, and is furiously bouncing around on the thing like a drunk girl on a mechanical bull. With no hands.
Hoo, boy. Should we be worried that she’s not walking yet? Nah. Her sister didn’t walk until 15 months, either, despite the doctor’s predictions she’d walk at a year. So Quinn’s right on our own little family schedule. Except, as she crawls over to me now, holding up her hands so I pick her up, I wonder if, really, we’re actually on her schedule. As I said: this kid ain’t dumb.