I like the crawling stage. I do. I enjoy the early, early toddler stage - where they're just starting to walk, just starting to talk. Everyone has ages that they seem to prefer, and I really like the first year or so. I mean, I love my kids always, but my favorite age has always been the first year to year and a half.
So I don't mind that Julianna is an exceptionally late walker. I didn't mind when her younger cousins started walking and then running before she did. She can stand on her own, balancing fine for extended periods of time. And she's been reliably cruising along furniture for a long time now. But she's definitely not walking. Defiantly not walking. Because I truly believe that she could walk, but she's adamant that she won't.
But all of her peers are walking. I went to the library with her yesterday, which I do fairly often. And Julianna has always loved bopping around the library. She crawls all over the place, following along behind me, chipper as can be. And yesterday, we went to the library, and she helped me return the books, putting them into the bins and then we crawled (she crawled, I sauntered) thru the new books, and over to the fiction section, down past the teens and into the children's room. We picked out books and started to make our slow way back to the front of the library to check out. We saw another toddler, who was, go figure, toddling. Julianna was thrilled - she loves people in general, and was perfectly content to sit and chat with the little girl. They showed each other their dresses and Julianna showed off her new sneakers. All of this was done with grunting and pointing, as neither kid was actually talking, but they communicated really well. The other mother dragged the kid away eventually, and then another mom wandered by with her two boys - and they were commenting about why that little girl (my little girl) wasn't walking yet. They were actually laughing at her, because she was crawling and not walking yet.
It turns out that the little girl she was playing with was fifteen months old. Julie is almost eighteen months.
I'm not freaking out about it, because I know damn well that kids meet their milestones on their own schedule. Sam was a comparatively early walker, he was walking by the time he was thirteen months. Jessie took her first steps at eleven months, but didn't reliably walk until she was right around this age. But Julie is steadfast about not walking. Determined not to - and it appears to be a decision that she's made, she's not walking and that's it. She's crawling, and if we gently encourage her, she gets either mad or sad, and has on more than one occasion, when someone has hinted that perhaps she'd like to say, walk over to Mama instead of crawling, laid her little head down on the floor and moaned for sympathy.
I know I'll miss my crawling girl - but right now, I'm thinking that I'd like a little toddling monkey. I'm ready - and I know that she is. If I could just somehow convince her of that....