Posted by: rocketbride | May 23, 2013

running jumping standing still

My daughter just starting walking last month. She took her sweet time, as she does with everything physical: she was late to sit, late to crawl and late to stand. By the time she decided to favour us with her first wobbly steps, we were used to steaming past milestones and taking our victories when we could find them.

These past few weeks have been a big shift in the way she wants to play. We can’t set up a toy station and just leave her to amuse herself; walking is the main attraction and she keeps busy all the time, walking back and forth or in repetitive loops through the kitchen. Yesterday I was able to take her on the first “walk” of her life: an epic three-block odyssey between my parents’ house and my own. Along the way she dashed across lawns, touched cars, yelled nonsense at flowers and veered toward the street with heart-stopping irregularity. It was awesome. I was so glad when it was over.

the walk
she is ready to go; we can do nothing but try to keep up

I like this stage. It’s alarming when your kid starts to really motor, because you suddenly have to pay attention to the street, to stairs, to small and large steps. Just as it’s easier to travel to restaurants with a baby when you’re exclusively breastfeeding, it’s easier to be out with a baby when you can keep them in your lap or your arms. But this stage is so much fun, because there’s so much to discover when a baby is in charge of the voyage.

I was reminded of this on Saturday, when my husband and I optimistically took the two younger children to Milagro, a restaurant we have frequented since just before I got pregnant the last time. Now that Maggie walks, lunch was a relay between the parents. First he walked with them while I looked at the menu, then I walked with them when he went to the bathroom. He came back; I had a chance to take a few sips of my pop. Our guacamole arrived and suddenly everyone could stay at the table, sitting in peace. As soon as the corn chips ran out, I was on again.

While my husband ate, I explored the restaurant from the height of 2 feet. She pointed at lotteria cards and I identified them. She got fussy and I grabbed an abandoned chip from an uncleared table (shame!). She got tired of being low and I picked her up so that she could gently touch the wine bottles covered in volcanic layers of melted candle wax. When I had the chance to herd them back toward the table, we formed a parade: baby lurching like an orangutan in the lead, son holding a toy above his head like a standard, and me pulling up the rear, wondering how we would look to the other patrons.

playing on the lawn
to my daughter, even the scrubbiest strip of grass is paradise if she can walk unimpeded

Hanging around a newly-minted walker is a zen exercise made flesh. You find yourself noticing things off the path, from angles you would have never considered. You become an expert in amusing your kid with whatever comes to hand: a plastic tray, a sign across the street, the sleeve of their jacket. You reinvent the simplest of games: how far can we go in a straight line? How many times can we orbit this pole? What is the safest way to walk down a steep flight of stairs? How far can you run before I can catch you?

This is the part where I insert some homily about the wisdom of children being far superior to the knowledge of adults. But I don’t like to experience parenting as a series of inspirational posters, so maybe it’s better if we just leave it for what it is.

My kid can finally walk, and it’s awesome.

she walks!

rocket

Aleta Fera is genuinely inspired by her children, but tries not to be obnoxious about it. She writes about her amazingly profound and sincerely banal life at Further Adventures of Rocketbride.

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