Despite a shared environment and age, twins are different in many ways. Our boys, now 15 months old, are the perfect example of this. One of them started walking about a month ago. He’s already quite confident at it. Too confident, if you ask me. His over-eagerness combined with the lurching, unsteady gait of a new toddler have already landed us in the emergency room last summer.
We’d done a fair job of babyproofing for boys, gating off the stairs, and watching for falls. Then, while toddling around, he just lost his balance, fell, and hit his head on the corner of a wall. I was just getting ready for work; instead, we all piled into the minivan and shot to the E.R.
No Twin Left Behind
On the complete other end of the spectrum, we’re still teaching the younger twin to walk. He was slower to adapt the traditional crawl as well; for months, he relied on the “injured man” crawl, where the legs drag behind. Part of the slower gross motor skills might have to do with personality: our youngest, in general, is just content with the world and his place in it. He’ll sit and play with a single toy, box, or scrap of paper for the longest time. The motivation to move on his own just wasn’t as strong.
Is Physical Therapy Necessary?
We have about a month and a half to get younger boy walking independently, or else he’ll be sentenced to physical therapy. There’s nothing technically wrong with that; our daughter went through it. By her last few sessions, though, she wasn’t getting anything out of it. They’d take her foot measurements for new inserts, and then she’d play for half an hour. Each time, we paid our copay and they told us “Oh, the next time will probably be the last one.” They strung us along with that pretty good.
Finally we figured out that we could measure her feet for inserts on our own, and we didn’t make another appointment. Our daughter (now 3) is tall for her age and a very fast runner. Sometimes we can’t even catch her. I’d say that’s a mission accomplished.
Update: Twin Boys Don’t Walk. They Run
So now it’s a few months later, and both boys are confident walkers. They really only have one speed: running full-tilt wherever they’re headed. They run to us or (more often) away from us. They run after (or from) their older sister. Sometimes we look back at those carefree days when they could only crawl, and wonder if we were right to encourage walking.
Once the older boy mastered it, though, the cat was out of the bag. His younger brother, though a super-fast crawler, was always reaching the desired toy or cup or snack a couple seconds too late. So he was going to learn it, and we helped him as much as we could. Besides, family walks around the block are so much more fun (and certainly more chaotic) now.