As a Physical Therapist, I am regularly asked about concerns of physical health. Pertaining to kiddos, it’s always about child development — primarily in how they move and how their little muscles are growing. This story is all about a funny crawling pattern I was asked about.
Creepy, Crawling, Crazy!
This story is about a little boy we’ll call “MAC.” MAC is in that creepy crawly stage. He’s a starkingly heavy set kid who is in the 99% in terms of weight. And… normal for everything else. He is a HUGE baby. He is also ridiculously adorable and pretty much happy all around minus when his body tells him he needs something. The thing of it was that when MAC started to pull himself forward, he never quite transitioned to a creeping on all fours with belly off the ground. In fact, as it seemed he would, his crawling pattern changed to more of him pulling himself across the ground using left arm to pull and his right leg to kick himself forward.
This was leading to him favoring that cross pattern and somewhat ignoring the use of his right arm and left leg in mobility. Mommy, of course, saw this right away and was worried that MAC was going to become susceptible to some type of developmental concern.
This is where I came in. She asked for a clinical eye.
I was more than happy to check MAC out — just to see if there was anything of concern. His hips felt fine and the rest of his joints moved perfectly fine. He was plenty strong and squirmed away as I was poking at him — all excellent signs. I used a toy to test out if he could indeed move in a reciprocal manner. He did! It wasn’t that he couldn’t move with both sides. He just plain did not want to. In fact, he threw a fit when he realized I was tricking him to crawl reciprocally.
You should’ve seen the fit when I made him creep.
It’s all part of the process in pediatric clinical assessments. Now, mind you, I’m not specialized in pediatric physical therapy or health. It’s just something I’ve been trained in and feel comfortable enough to discern when a specialist is needed versus when everything is perfectly okay. In MAC’s case, he was great. I told mommy that MAC is just favoring this side. It’s a choice, not an impairment. My bet was that MAC would choose to move bilaterally, efficiently, and “normally” when he decided that moving all slow by pulling himself and sliding the rest of the body across the floor got boring. Sure enough, in a few weeks, he started to creep normally and he even seemed to want to skip all that into stance.
Part of this came from the fact that MAC is a pretty heavy set kid for his frame. It was probably just a bit frustrating to try to move “normally.” As a result, he created a compensatory movement pattern until his muscles were strong enough and until his brain developed enough motor control to catch up with “the curve.”
I, personally, was never worried about MAC. I figured it would be only a matter of time before he got bored of moving slowly. After all — babies want what they want, and they want it NOW.
The lesson here: Everyone is different.
The secondary lesson here: It’s always good to get a clinical eye on the situation.
The final lesson here: Crawling isn’t the goal. WALKING is the goal. Unless your kiddo’s crawling strategy has transferred over to strange and concerning walking pattern, there is absolutely nothing to worry about… particularly since you already sought a clinical eye on the situation, right? 😉