As soon as I became a parent, I feel like I started getting the question “so what developments is she doing now?”
And don’t get me wrong, I love to share about how exciting it is that she realized she has hands, or is trying to get her feet in her mouth, her first smile and her first laugh. Every moment seems amazing. Of course in response moms (and dads) can’t help but talk about their child’s firsts and of course slight bragging when it comes to how early they developed, especially walking.
I’m going to be honest, the first time I had a friend tell me their daughter started walking at 9-months old, I thought “Oh dear! Please don’t let Elle walk that early.”
The thought of this tiny human with no forethought of consequences by her actions walking around my house seemed like a terrible idea. Obviously I kept this thought to myself thinking I was probably a bad mom wanting to slow the physical development of my child and not for sentimental reasons of “oh, you’re growing up too fast.”
I was at my physical therapist’s office when Elle was about 8 months old and she asked me what new things my daughter was doing. She had recently started tabling and I let it slip I was fearful that she was going to be an early walker. I paused thinking oh great, I just announced out loud how terrible of a mom was, but she quickly responded with “I felt the same way. I had one early walker and one late walker and I wasn’t sad about having a late walker”. (She also added that her late walker was a star high school athlete just for anyone who is worried about their child being a late walker.) Wow! Maybe I’m not a terrible parent after all.
Luckily she waited a few more months before really attempting to walk but that didn’t mean we did not suffer through a lot of falling, crying, bruises and her being gone from my sight in a second to get into trouble. As she would attempt to pull herself up on various objects and then eventually walk, I always wondered what was going through her head at the choices she made.
Here are some thoughts I imagine going through her head as she was making us suffer through the trials and tribulations of learning to walk:
“Oh look! The TV stand with sharp edged shelves is just asking for me to pull myself up on it. I’ve got a good grasp, oh wait I don’t. Ouch! Hit my forehead.” [Lots of crying and snuggling]
“Mom is cleaning off the TV tray. Must be so I can grab onto it and pull myself up. Surely the TV tray is balanced enough to do that. Mom has her hands full, let’s try it now. Oh no! The tray is falling on me. Maybe this wasn’t such a great idea” [lots of crying and snuggling]
“Oooh, mom turned her back for a second, let’s stand up and run across the couch. Oh when the couch ends Bo [our dog] is there to catch. I should try this again someday.”
“Last time I ran across the couch it was so fun to land on Bo. Let’s try it again. Wait! Bo isn’t there!” [Lots of crying and snuggling]
“Walking around on the tile floor dragging this blanket seems fun. Mom is coming towards me saying stop but I think she wants to chase me. Let me try to run. She keeps saying stop running but I know she means keep going. Oh no! I tripped on the blanket and caught myself with my face…. on the tile floor…. right before mom and I were supposed to have mother/daughter photos done. I’ll just cry and have her hold me.”
I remember being at Babies ‘R Us buying some items to childproof the house. A girl was there registering and made a comment about all the baby proofing items, saying “Why would you need all this? It’s called watching your child”. Awww, the naivety of being a soon-to-be first time mom. I remember making comments like that because as they say, you don’t know what you don’t know. I held back my wanting to say “You just wait” as certainly a year in I’m no expert.
It is exciting to see her explore and discover new things. I love how proud she looked as she started taking those first steps. Its a blessing to get to witness this stage, but I cannot wait until we’re a secure walker. Of course I know with that comes the terrible twos and threenager phase….