My oldest daughter was a butt-scooter. She could clear a room completely and entirely on her bum. Have you ever seen a baby that butt-scoots? They kind of look like monkeys. It’s really cute, but usually their mode of mobility generates a lot of stares. The stares aren’t what bothered me. Naturally, people are drawn to looking at things that don’t appear to be “normal.”
It can be hard to control your stares, but invasive questions? At some point, I have to wonder if these inquiries about my child’s butt-scooting are intended to be compassionate and helpful or if they’re just rudely curious.
Here are five questions I had to field while out in public with a butt-scooting, anti-crawling baby.
1. Does your child have something wrong with her?
You mean, is my kid disabled? That’s what you’re really trying to say here, isn’t it? Let me school you on a couple things. According to Child: Care, Health and Development, 82 percent of babies crawl on their hands and knees in the conventional way we all think of as crawling. The rest butt-scoot, creep on their bellies and roll. Some kids just get up and start walking, without ever doing any sort of pre-walking movement.
So, statistically speaking, you’re going to see more kids that crawl than butt-scoot, but (pun intended) it is certainly not a cause for medical concern — or your concern.
We should also talk about your lackluster social etiquette. If my child did indeed have a physical, mental and/or medical challenge, there would be nothing “wrong” with her. She’s not “wrong” for being made how she was made. Period.
2. Did you do tummy time?
No, I didn’t do “tummy time.” My kid screamed bloody murder every time I tried tummy time. So instead of torturing her — and myself — I decided it’d be best to move on to an activity she actually did enjoy.
Tummy time is shown to build muscles in a baby’s arms, upper back and neck. However, if your baby hates being on their tummy, there is no need to make yourself crazy over meeting the milestone. Babies will learn to roll over regardless. For the record, I’m also not a fan of people passive-aggressively placing the blame on me, the mother, for not enforcing tummy time.
3. Did you carry her around in a baby carrier?
Absolutely. How else do you make a colicky baby happy or go shopping hands-free? I wasn’t interested in having a screaming child in a stroller.
By asking this question, you assume I carried my baby around like this often. You assume my baby didn’t have the opportunity to practice crawling on the floor — both of which are untrue. In some cultures and countries, kids aren’t even allowed to crawl around on the floor. For example, babies born into tribe life in Papua New Guinea don’t go through a crawling stage at all, and they don’t appear to suffer any negative effects as a result.
4. What percentile is she?
No. Just no. I don’t do percentile talk. I don’t want you asking me what percentile my kid is in, and I certainly don’t want to know what percentile your kid is in, OK?
The percentile chart is great for tracking your child’s growth at the doctor’s office. However, it’s not a great tool for parents to use while arbitrarily comparing children on the playground. Especially, if they have zero formal medical training or knowledge.
5. What did the pediatrician say? Have you taken your baby to a specialist?
There is doctor confidentiality for a reason, right? I mean, most people are not entirely comfortable disclosing their medical information — or their child’s medical information — to complete strangers. For anyone still wondering, I did take my child to the pediatrician on her scheduled appointment dates, and even at the 15-month mark, her pediatrician said, “It doesn’t matter how she’s getting from point A to point B, as long as she’s getting there.”
My butt-scooting daughter started walking when she was 19 months old, never having crawled a day in her life. She took her first steps at our local YMCA child care center. I didn’t even get to see those first — and long-awaited — steps.
She’s 6 years old now and walks just fine. In fact, she runs her booty off in soccer.
Her start may have been a bit unconventional, but the goal was reached all the same.