My dd is 3.5 years old. She was a late crawler (13 months) and walker (almost 20 months), but I didn't get crazy over it. She was highly verbal early on (it seems that babies initially have verbal or physical strengths, but not both), and my pediatrician wasn't concerned because dd kept "moving in the right direction" along the gross motor skills continuum. She has excellent fine motor skills (doing intricate things with her hands).
Fast forward to 3.5 years, and my daughter is easily a year behind her peers. She has difficulty going up and down stairs; she usually goes either very slowly, holding railings and/or hands, or slides down on her butt. She is reluctant to go on most playground equipment, and she is awkward when she jumps or runs. I believe that a psychological component has developed too, a she has regressed in some areas (i.e., she used to go on playground slides, but now hardly ever). Because she is mentally quite sharp, she absolutely realizes that she is behind her peers ("so and so can jump off the bench, but I can't") and often gets flustered when surrounded by kids who can do more than her. She also has lots of emerging fears, although many of them seem pretty normal for a 3 year old.
We decided to give physical therapy a shot, and have gone a handful of times. It is hard to tell if that is doing anything. Also, as a 3 year old, some days she is eager to do what she is asked, and other days not at all. We have told her that it is an "exercise class" which it essentially is. The novelty is wearing off, though, and she is starting to not want to go. We are sticking with it for the time being. We used to go to a gym class, but she wasn't really doing anything, mostly watching the other kids. She has asked to go again recently, so we're going to do it, but with a slightly younger class. Anything to get her active and comfortable.
I often look back at our AP lifestyle and beat myself over the head about things. I am positive that her delay in crawling/walking is just a part of who she is, but I feel we may have exacerbated it by all the carrying (slings) we did. At the time, I felt I was being in tune with my daughter and meeting her needs by carrying her a lot of the time, but now I'm not sure. It seems to have turned into a lifestyle (although we rarely do it any more, she whines about it a lot, although less and less). Of course, having a new baby brother in the house hasn't helped much!
I don't want or expect her to be a star athlete, but I do want her to enjoy the playground and be able to run around with other kids. The stair climbing thing I think will naturally be resolved as she gets taller (and the stairs are easier), but really - she should be able to run up and down the stairs by now. She favors one leg in each direction up and down (which is normal, I think, for kids to "plateau" at each step and raise the same leg up) but when I ask her to try and do it with the opposite leg she protests and refuses. She doesn't even want to try. Yet, she always "plays" gymnastics and ballet; she at some level aspires to be more physical.
Has anyone been through this too? Is there light at the end of the tunnel? I felt for the longest time that she would eventually just catch up with her peers. But now I think it has entered her psyche and she is limiting herself. I am sure that she can sense my concerns as well. I try, but don't think I am successful in hiding my concerns. She is a pretty darn perceptive kid. And I should add, very few of my friends can empathsize with me and I'm getting worn down by it a bit. With a new baby in tow I find it is hard to get out of the house, since DD needs so much help from me. Friends seem to be judging me as it being my shortcoming or overbearing parenting style.
I feel like I am the problem in her undeveloped physical skills. It is becoming a bit obsessive for me, as I am constantly judging her skills against other kids, yet I don't know what to do to improve the situation.
Really feeling alone on this one. Would love to hear other's experiences with the same issue. Thanks!