Teaching Reaching

How do you teach someone to reach? No.. Dr Suess is not asking. I am. For the past couple of weeks… Willow has been at a stand still with her development because of one simple thing… fear. She’s afraid to reach! She’s been that way since birth. While most infants her age are grabbing at things… Willow is content staring at them.

Willow staring at her blocks.

If you put something in her hand… she’ll move it around and eventually put it in her mouth and chew on it… but very rarely will she reach for something on her own. Early Intervention has me taking her hand and touching it to a toy to show her the action… but she doesn’t like it. She usually pulls back pretty quickly. It’s like she’s afraid of what’s ahead of her. She’s content staying in her “safe zone.” Unfortunately… until she learns to reach… she won’t be able to roll to her side on her own… or from her back to her tummy. She’s also missing out on the fun of playing with toys! Sure they’re neat to look at… but they’re designed for play! So that brings me back to my question: How do I teach Willow to reach? How do I get her to understand that she has nothing to fear? She can trust me! She just needs to reach out and grab a hold of what’s in front of her.

It’s funny how God speaks to us sometimes. This morning… I held a toy in front of Willow’s face and started cheering: “Just grab it! Don’t be afraid!! You can do it. Trust me! It’s not going to hurt you!” As usual.. Willow stared a hole into her toy and I began to grow frustrated. “Why don’t you just reach out and get it? There’s nothing to be afraid of!!! Come on!!!” And then it hit me. I bet God is looking down at me right now saying “Now you know how I feel.” Ugh.

I don’t know when Willow will realize that the things in front of her are not to be feared. But then again… I don’t know when I’ll realize that either. I guess I’ll just have to keep reminding her.. encouraging her.. and loving her. “Yup,” says God.

“Beat it, Mom.”


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