Monday, May 14, 2012

Typical father

Last week, I took Jasper to the zoo. It was a fairly nice day - sunny, if a little chilly for my comfort. Lately our zoo trips conclude with a stop at the playground, and the swings. We finished our swinging ritual and I sat Jasper down in the grass, before putting him back in his stroller. A little girl walked over to Jasper and checked him out, standing behind him. I said Hi to her. Her dad was nearby and said Hello. He asked how old Jasper was. Jasper remained seated in the grass, pulling at it but not eating it. Fifteen months, I replied. To reciprocate, I asked how old his daughter was. Thirteen months. Almost. Started walking when she was eight months old, his tone giving the impression that he was her primary care giver. The proud father. And by the look of him, an avid sports fan. Fan. Not participant. Although I hadn’t asked, he proceeded to tell me how he’d made his infant daughter “exercise” prior to walking. Of course, he couldn’t have known that he was boasting about his precocious daughter to a mom whose son had a stroke and is delayed. He couldn’t have known how I am holding my breath, waiting for Jasper to walk. And not on tippy toes. In my mind is the number eighteen, as in walking by eighteen months, I hope. But really I would love him to walk right now. Or by summer, so that I can hold Jasper’s hand and walk along the beach with him.

The dad did not get to finish telling me about his young daughter’s exercise routine. She interrupted him when she saw a bird flying overhead, pointed at it, and said, “buuurd??” Without saying a word, I put Jasper back in his stroller and we went home.


  1. Stay strong mama! He will walk, in his own perfect timing.

  2. Oh, honey. I have been there. I'm sorry that man was an ass without even knowing it - or maybe he did and didn't care. Don't let someone like that make get you down - although easier said than done. Sounds like you did the best thing because I might have wanted to sock it to him. You know, it is fine to tell people about Jasper's stroke. Even complete strangers. I often feel like I am doing my own version of a public service announcement by explaining Angelina's stroke and the results are two-fold: one, people learn that anyone can have a stroke at any time and two, they learn, "Gee, maybe I shouldn't judge a book by it's cover. Maybe instead of me assuming that this little boy is not walking because he didn't get enough "infant exercise" that he has other challenges that I couldn't possibly know or understand and that I should keep my fat mouth shut:"

    Jasper will walk and even if it is not by 18 months, that is OK too. Lina walked around 17 or 18 months and it wasn't pretty, but I know kids who have walked later and gone on to master walking and running. You are doing an amazing job and I would take this one day at a time. Projections will only make you crazy. I know this from personal experience.

    You hang in there and please call me if you ever want to chat, vent, cry, rejoice, share, etc...

  3. The father is an IDIOT. No one can make their child walk early just by exercising them. Just like I can't make my child walk with hours of therapy each week. So sorry you had to deal with this. I probably would have started lecturing him.