Crawling backwards

Talitha has started crawling. It’s exciting but she can only go backwards. Mostly she doesn’t mind, until she does.

Usually she’s crawling merrily backwards going “Dadadadadada” until she’s obstructed by a wall and launches straight into wailing “maMAAAAmaMAAA”. Someone tell me, why is “dada” for happy times and “mama” when she needs something?

I try turning her to see if that resets the system but once she’s started bawling, that’s it, she wants to be held. It’s all very cute, if a little inconvenient.

She can move forward but I wouldn’t call it crawling. It’s more what a friend termed “sprawling”. It’s a movement that happens without me quite discerning how she’s managed to make it happen. I often wonder if she even notices that she’s doing it.

This she seems to do without effort but as soon as she focuses on something she wants to get to, usually something gross like a hairball, which I shouldn’t admit to having on my floor, the backwards crawl begins.

That’s what I presume happened last week when her cries interrupted me in the middle of the dishes. It took me a few moments to realise that she was underneath one of the kitchen cupboards, only her head poking out. The more she cried, the further under she went.

Parenting check: how bad is it that I was torn for a split second over whether to fetch her out first or take a picture? (Relax. I did the right thing. I think.)

I’ve tried standing behind her to see if she would crawl backwards toward me and get some gratification for her hard work. She just sits up, turns to face me and then starts crawling backwards away from me.

Oh little Talitha, you obviously find this frustrating at times. It’s only going to last a short while.

There will be so many points over the course of your life where you see what you want but, at first, can’t get to it.

Your frustration will break my heart.

Your frustration will drive you.

[she/her] • writer • unschooler • team Soul Farm • Revillaging podcast • breastfeeding counsellor • Trinidadian in Cornwall

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  • Aww bless a mate of my told me her daughter did the same. My son used to crawl like a commando and he still doesn’t say ‘Mama’ its ‘Dada’ and Hello and the odd ‘No’

  • We found Bigger wedged under the sofa once, desperately trying to pretend that she (a) wasn’t wedged under the sofa and (b) if she was wedged under the sofa it was entirely deliberate during this phase…

  • What a beautiful post. So happy to have found your blog. Your girl is beautiful and is lucky to have such a wise Mummy in you! Oliver sprawled for a while too. I sometimes feel like I’m going backwards in life in order to go forwards. This reminded me why! Thanks x

  • She is so so adorable. Amy crawled forward instantly but she seems more interested in standing up and walking along the sofa. I do know the sound of a frustrated baby though. I hear it a lot these days but in a way that’s a good thing because it shows us that our little ones are mastering a new skill x 

  • She’s so cute – and so clever with the crawling thing! F didn’t move AT ALL until she was around 10 months, at which point she commando crawled everywhere. Then she started crawling at 13 months and now, at almost 20 months, is STILL crawling. I hear you on the frustration thing. It breaks my heart to see F wanting to walk. She more than makes up for it with her constant chatter though. And shouting. I think her and Talitha would get on well!

    • How did I miss this comment? I really hope F starts walking soon for both your sakes. I do know of a few REALLY late walkers though, so she is in company. Oh dear, put them together and we’d have all eyes on us.

  • My daughter has only been crawling a week and this post is very very reminiscent of the last few  weeks! And I agree about the dadadadda mammamam thing. Not fair!

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