My Child Isn’t {Fill in the Blank}. Should I be Worried?

I had an entirely different blog post ready and it was scheduled to post, but I decided to save it for another day because something else has been on my mind lately, and I need to let it out. I started this blog as a way to get my thoughts out, so I felt it was only right to do just that.

Every child is different.

Yes, I know, but that doesn’t make me feel any better when my child is the one who isn’t walking or talking.

Porter is almost 16 months old, and he’s not walking or talking yet. Everyone tells me not to worry. The doctor doesn’t seem concerned, but I still can’t help but to feel like he’s behind or like something is wrong. Porter started crawling a lot later than many other babies I know. In fact, he didn’t start officially crawling until he was 11 months old, so I didn’t expect him to start walking on the day of his first birthday or anything, but here we are 5 months later, and he’s still not walking. He can walk with help, and he walks (or rather runs) with his play walker (best purchase ever), and he even takes a few steps in between pieces of furniture, but he still cannot walk on his own. I know it’s only a matter of time, and everyone says “Enjoy it while it lasts,” but I still don’t like telling people that he’s not walking yet when they ask. Why does it make me feel like I’ve done something wrong?

Every time Porter gets a checkup, our pediatrician gives us a packet of papers corresponding with that age. At his 15 month checkup, the papers said that Porter should be saying at least 3-5 words at this point, and of course, I panicked. According to Porter, he probably thinks he speaks 1000 different words, but to us, not one of them is an actual word. He can say “da da” and “ma ma,” but they never seem to be in response to us, so we just call it babbling. I have friends who have babies who are only a few months older than he is, and they are speaking in phrases already. And here I am waiting for him to utter his first discernible word.

Sure, Porter is smart. I know he’s smart. He can spot a bread product from a mile away (if he sees any sort of bread, he will not eat anything else.) He knows how to give kisses and high fives. He knows what “Drink your milk” means, and if we say “Where’s Maggie?” he happily turns his head to look at her. He’s smart, and he’s understanding at least some of what we say and do, but why hasn’t he called me mama yet?

I was talking to a good friend the other day and she said, “Boys are just dumber than girls are. Seriously.” And that is a response that a lot people say to me, but even if boys do develop later than girls, shouldn’t he be doing more at his age?

One of my co-workers asked about Porter the other day, and when I told her that he wasn’t walking yet, her response wasn’t one that I was used to hearing. Instead of attributing it to his gender or giving some other response, she told me that studies have shown that the longer a baby crawls, the better reader he/she will become. I have no idea if there is any truth to that statement, but I appreciated her positivity.


Here’s Porter on Easter Sunday. He does love his books! The bow tie is from Lolly Lu Designs.

So, mamas, help me out. Am I crazy? Is this normal? I know none of this will matter in 5 years, but if it doesn’t matter, why do I feel so badly about it?

7 thoughts on “My Child Isn’t {Fill in the Blank}. Should I be Worried?”

  1. Such a cutie! I’m sure he is just taking things at his own pace, but you could always ask your doctor if it would make you feel better. P-man is lucky to have such an awesome mama looking out for him. And boo to any judgey person who would act surprised/make you feel bad when you say he’s still working toward walking and talking. xoxo
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    1. Thanks, Laur! At his 15 month check up, we asked the doctor about it, and he didn’t seem concerned at all, so that does make me feel a bit better. Even within the past few days, he’s made such progress with walking, so I imagine the talking will come any time now, too!

  2. Ugh. I can relate. For us, the fill in the blank is Sleeping Through the Night. My 6 1/2 month daughter is a sweetheart and all she wants in the world is to cuddle and to put things in her mouth. But ever since she got more mobile and broke out of the swaddle at 3 months, she has sleep regressed like nobody’s business. Of course, All people want to know is whether she is sleeping through the night! She can do lots of other things! But not the thing that everyone asks about. And even worse, I feel like everywhere I turn there are articles and books about sleep telling me that it IS all my fault and I need to “fix” her because something is wrong with this child who wants to eat sooner than 8 hrs and wants to be comforted at 2 am. Sigh. these sleep-deprived months have been an endless haze of me obsessed with thinking I’m a bad mom and feeling guilty every time she wakes up. Different situation, but I know what you mean. I try to tell myself that things will be better in five years too!!
    And they really will. My girlfriend’s son was almost identical to Porter in terms of crawling, walking, and talking. She was always worrying. But now he is 2 1/2, running around like crazy and constantly amazing her with new words he has learned.
    Porter will get there!! Someday my daughter will sleep more than 2 hrs at a time! But honestly I think nothing helps a mom when she is in the moment. Because a mom’s talent (haha) is always bring able to find something to worry about. And society’s obsession with milestones and normality sure doesn’t help.

    1. Colleen, thanks so much for your comment. It makes me feel better knowing that other moms are feeling the same way, but like you said, worrying is part of being a mom!

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