It was just two weeks ago when Kiddo decided he preferred walking to crawling. Back in July he was able to cruise around the room holding on to furniture, walls, and other people. By early September he was able to take a handful of steps on his own, but he was still more comfortable crawling. His daycare teachers, his doctor, and we his parents were all convinced that Kiddo did have the necessary skills and balance to walk on his own; all he needed was the confidence. And then just a couple Saturdays ago, I was packing up his diaper bag in preparation for running errands, and I looked up to see Kiddo toddling around the corner with a big grin on his face. Confidence: he found it.
As expected, once he got past the psychological hurdle of letting go, he embraced the idea of walking anywhere and everywhere. The little boy who always reached for my hand now pulls away. And boy oh boy, is there ever a lot for this boy to explore. My husband and I, along with some friends, had been spending a lot of nights and weekends in a conference room at work getting ready for a Halloween event. We brought Kiddo along with us rather than leave him with a babysitter, because we figured how hard could it be to keep an eye on him? At first he was happy to explore the room and push the chairs around, but after we’d been there a couple of times, he started wanting more. Most of the time we remembered to keep the door closed, but when you’re behind schedule on completing a huge task list, it’s easy to forget.
Saturday evening as we were packing up, I was crawling around on the floor in search of a toy that had disappeared several hours earlier. I finally found it tucked behind the recycling bin, and happily announced my success to the room. “He’s a sneaky kid,” replied my husband. I glanced over fondly to where Kiddo was playing–make that had been playing, near the now-open conference room door. “Speaking of sneaky kids–” I began, leaping to my feet. In a snap all three of us adults were out in the hallway, but there was no child in sight. We split up, and I encountered Kiddo a few shaky moments later, blissfully wandering toward the kitchen and the drinks cooler. We’ve just barely gotten used to his mobility, and he’s picking up speed more quickly than we can make the mental adjustment.
His I’ll-do-it-myself mentality is increasing too. In addition to not wanting to hold my hand, he’s less eager to have me carry him down the stairs. Today as we were leaving for daycare, I opened the gate at the top of our staircase and asked Kiddo whether he wanted to go downstairs by himself (backwards, on his stomach) or be carried. He usually opts for the carry but today he wanted to do it himself. Unfortunately, as he was preparing to turn around, he misjudged where the top step was, and fell headfirst down the first step. He might have gone farther, except that reflexes I didn’t realize I posessed kicked in, and I snagged his jacket pocket by one finger. I was too surprised to be scared, and I think Kiddo thought it was just another tumble, because he was happy to continue down the stairs once I’d helped him straighten out.
I didn’t understand it when my friends with kids older than mine would chuckle knowingly at my saying I couldn’t wait for him to start walking. I get it now.