The problem with being a very tall baby who can reach everything you want, climb to anything supposedly out of reach and crawl at light speed, is that there’s very little motivation to want to consider this walking lark as an alternative means of transport.
Pip has been cruising the furniture for a while now, getting better and better at standing, and quite happy to wander around holding one or both of our hands, but he’d yet to take a step by himself.
We were all sat on the floor on Sunday afternoon, the girls cuddled up for a story, Pip trying to take the book off us despite our many efforts to distract him by building towers for him to knock down and H and I happy in the sort of Sunday afternoon warmth that comes from being just our family at home. The little man’s efforts to run off with the book meant he was standing quite a bit, flailing at something that he just couldn’t understand seemed to be disappearing out of reach and then turning to give me his stink eye face, and while he was so steady we thought we might see what he could do with a little bribery and corruption.
And so H held out one of the girls’ Halloween sweets in a nice shiny silver wrapper, and, surrounded by his adoring audience, Pip let go of my hand, took one, two quick little steps forward and threw himself into H’s arms.
Proud just doesn’t cover it.
And I thought that would be it for a little while, that while we’d reached the ‘walking when encouraged with shiny things’ milestone, we might have to wait a little while longer for the moment when he walked just all by himself. But no, not our boy. I got home last night and after we’d had supper he was cruising the furniture so I sat on the floor and called his name with my arms stretched out for a cuddle, expecting him to drop and crawl, but he just turned, and with a couple of steps, threw himself at me. So of course we all started to play. He walked to Kitty and to H, no more than three or four steps each time but so very proud of himself, and then when I wasn’t really paying attention to him, and H and I were trying to swaddle a succession of dollies for their very insistent mamas, he suddenly let go of the arm chair, turned and step step plonk into my lap.
At fourteen months and six days, our Pip Squeak walked.
And I’m so happy, mostly because it’s a wonderful milestone and the gateway to him getting up to all sorts of exploring and mischief, but also because I didn’t miss it. It’s been one of my biggest fears in going back to work that I would miss something important, and I’m sure the day will come when I do, but not yet, and not this.
We were both there for the girls’ first steps and first independent walk and I don’t think I’d realised how much it mattered to me to be there for Pip until I was and the joy flooded in with relief. I don’t know whether H ever had that fear when he was working or whether the knowledge that you will miss milestones is as ingrained as the default setting that suggests that stay at home parents are Mums, but it did make me wonder whether babies, being so very clever, make sure that they’ve got their biggest possible audience before showing off their latest skills? What do you think? Did your babies hit the big milestones with everyone there to tell them how clever they were too?
Pictures from the weekend because while Pip Squeak might be walking a little bit, it’s going to be a while before I get it on camera!!