21 May 2009

The First of Many Dilemmas

Sheridan has been working SO hard on many of his "belly skills" - he LOVES to spend time playing on his stomach. In fact, he will play literally all day on his tummy if you let him (which we often do!). He's rolling, working on the skills to crawl, etc. and he is making so much progress...

So what's the dilemma?

Sheridan's physical therapist (remember, we're calling her PT) mentioned a while back that we would be focusing much more on belly skills than on sitting skills. She explained that his sitting skills would develop naturally (and indeed they have). More importantly, once kiddos learn to sit independently, it often leads to them not wanting to spend as much time on their little tummies anymore. Makes sense... once they can sit and play and do everything else in a sitting position, they don't want to spend as much time on their tummies. Of course, that can pose a problem because it becomes harder to work on their belly skills needed for crawling, learning to transition between laying down and sitting, etc.

So, we have been working on Sheridan's belly skills diligently and doing only the few things PT showed us to help Sheridan's sitting. Well, PT was right, his sitting has progressed really well. He's SO close to sitting independently... I figure he's no more than 2 months away.

So, again, what's the dilemma?

Every week PT checks to see how Sheridan is doing with his sitting. This week, she told me that if we actually worked on his sitting, he would be sitting independently in 1-2 weeks. WEEKS!

Huh?! I had no idea he was that close! I thought she was about to finish her sentence with "1-2 months."

Did I ever mention that sometimes I can be a bit of a dense mommy?

So, our dilemma: Do we work on his sitting so he can sit independently even though there is a risk that it might delay his crawling?

PT said that some kiddos do just fine working on belly skills after they can sit. Others really struggle - it's just simply difficult to make the progress necessary and crawling and creeping are delayed. You just never know which way it's gonna go.

PT did acknowledge that she has NEVER had another child like Sheridan who preferred so strongly to be on his tummy. So, will that translate to a decreased risk for crawling delays?

Gary and I have been chatting about it. We really want Sheridan to become mobile, and we know that he will crawl, he will creep, he will sit... it's just a matter of when (and a big thank you to Monica for reminding me of that).

It might not seem like a big deal to most people, but parents with a child with special needs are often faced with decisions like this. Is there a wrong answer? No, but that does not make it any easier to make a decision. As I write this, I actually feel a little silly - like I'm making a bigger deal about this than I should. The boy will sit! And, the boy will crawl! But I guess I always feel like Gary and I have to make the "best" decision for Sheridan.

So, do we help Sheridan sit independently or do we accept a longer delay in favor of not risking his crawling? Decisions, decisions. I think I need to just stop being a perfectionist... both answers are right!


  1. Ahhhhhh Lisa, You sound like me about 11 years ago -- perfectionist (I'm still trying, but now OK if I don't get there :-) and being a new mom worried about the next milestone and whether I'm doing everything right. I read EVERY word of EVERY parenting book so I wouldn't mess up. Thanks to many years of experience and a few more children since... I've learned that, whether they have Down syndrome or not, patience really IS a virtue. There's no wrong answer in your decisions. And as your PT said, some will be delayed, others won't. He'll still do everything... in his own time.

  2. PS: You're doing great! I think you're an awesome mom to Sheridan. :-)

  3. ahh, you are SO right. He will reach both milestones and I know all too well what it's like to be in your particular dilemma.

    As you know, Gabby *just* started sitting up much to my excitement. I was so anxious for her to be able to sit up and play. Since she has learned to do so, she rarely plays on her tummy and she was ALWAYS on her tummy before...just like Sheridan. In fact, my PT also was shocked at how much Gabby adored being on her belly.

    Anyway, what I am getting to is that YES, Gabby has slowed down on working on those important skills necessary for learning to crawl, but she does still practice every once in a while. It's nothing you or I can beat ourselves up about. Really, Sheridan will perfect whatever skill *he* is ready for.

    You and Gary are GREAT parents as I have seen first hand! It's only natural to worry that we're making the right decision for our babies but just know this is really nothing to fret about.


  4. You are right. Both answers and right. I would work on both. It sounds like Sheridan might not be able to get into a sit position all by himself so maybe that's the key. You can work on sitting exercises and he will be able to sit independently and play but then when you want him to work on belly stuff you can put him on his belly and work on that, right? It's when the baby can choose independently whether he wants to be on his belly or sitting (this is Joaquin right now) where it becomes more of a challenge to have the child work on what we want them to work on at a particular time. Hope I'm making sense!
    Way to go Sheridan!!!!
    Joaquin too LOVED LOVED LOVED his belly. Now, he love love loves to sit himself up :)!!

  5. Hmm...I wouldn't stress too much about it (I know, way easier said than done!) I think if he's naturally heading towards sitting up then just go with that. Since kids learn to sit before they crawl anyway I don't think it'll really hinder his crawling development - especially since he already enjoys being on his tummy. And if you get concerned about working the tummy muscles you could still do exercises with a ball.

  6. Oh I wanted to also say - being able to sit up is still working on tummy muscle - you need strength in your core to be able to balance and keep yourself in sitting position :)