Olivia was a year old when I started taking her to a chiropractor. She wasn’t sitting up independently at that point. Sure, we could prop her and there were moments of independent sitting but mostly…no.
I started taking her because I simply had no other ideas. She was a year old, wasn’t crawling, wasn’t sitting consistently and while we’d just started therapies, I felt like I had to try the chiropractor too. I figured it would hurt her and it might actually help her.
I took Liv to that chiropractor once a week for a year. During her time with him, she learned to sit up completely unassisted, she started crawling and she always seemed happy when we arrived at his office.
Just before she started crawling, he told me something that has resonated ever since.
He said, “None of these movements are natural for her. She has to learn every single muscle movement that is involved in sitting up and then in crawling and eventually in walking. It isn’t instinctive to her like it is for you or for her sister. She has to think about each muscle movement and concentrate on how each muscle is contracting or stretching.
He compared it to learning to drive a car. When a person first learns to drive a car, they have to think about every move of the steering wheel, every push of the gas or break. They have to learn to watch every mirror without taking their eyes off the road. And then…they just figure it out and it becomes second nature.
“But,” he continued optimistically, “she does have muscle memory. Once she learns something, her muscles don’t forget it and she doesn’t have to think about it quite so much. Like the person who’s been driving for a few year.”
I was reminded of this conversation with that long ago chiropractor this morning. Olivia was next to me, attempting to stand as still as a statue. She said, “Standing still takes a lot of orders.”
“What?” I asked her, confused about her wording.
“I have to order my arms and legs to not move. Standing still takes a lot of orders.”
Ahhh! I get it. And I am so glad she can articulate those things. She’s so clever and comes up with some of the most profound things. It kind of amazed me that she basically echoed what that doctor all those years ago said.
She’s come so far and yet still has so far to go. But then, don’t we all?
And just because…she loves her new glasses: