Updated: Nov 7, 2019
Tiny toes, baby steps, tippy toes, breaking backs, little wobbles, backwards topples, splade toes, off she goes......
My wee one is taking her first tentative steps into her world. It's very exciting , of all the first steps I've witness and she will take this is the big one! It starts with a spit and spurt. Climbing the furniture , the wall , the cat and everyone who stands still long enough. She traverses around the room, reaching out to go further between static items. She pushing off and stands up in one spot ( started that she did not know she was doing it and now its all she wants to do )! She found that if it is the right weight ratio , she can push it round the room and get going, her walker, a child's chair upturned ( who knew) and a variety of boxes and coffee tables that are right, height and weight to manoeuvre. She even wandered off with her grandfathers walker the other day at Sunday lunch. So cute! I guess thats exactly what it is designed for , just other end of life spectrum. Side note, after we had stopped laughing we did lament that we all start off in this phase and end back up in it after a time, walking with help, soft foods and back in nappies ! But I digress. My wee one hasn't actually taken that first step on her own and she is only 10 months so she has time, most walk around their first birthday , so I and hopefully her are in no hurry. But here is what to expect, look out for and how you can help them literally take that first step.
Make the room an assault course.-I know it sounds weird but your wee one has to learn their boundaries, their limits and challenge themselves in learning to walk. The first steps to taking the first steps is confidence and moving around with things. So make the room(s) that you spend time in , lounge, bedroom, yours and theirs, kitchen, safe but interesting. Give them things to test themselves on. My wee one like to climb the drawers in the kitchen , so I have a piece of wood that goes through the handles so they don't all open on her and close on tiny fingers, but she is able to pull herself up on them. I have moved our lounge to have things she can traverse around at safe distances from each other so she gets stretched and more confident every time she moves from object to object. Obviously all unsafe areas are blocked off and secured, tied down and try as I might put rubber corners on tables etc her favourite game is to pull them off and chew on them but I try. As I said before she loves to climb up and push things around so I have filled her trolley with wooden blocks and a box with heavier items that she can counter balance on and build up muscle in pushing around. They are just the right weight that she has to balance and thats the most important part, she has to find her centre of gravity and balance so I don't make it too easy.
Stop drop and roll - as well as being useful motto for when you are on fire, it also works for having to let your baby find their centre, and letting them learn by trial and error. You have to let them fail, over and over if needs must . They will walk when they are ready and not before and it may take them days, weeks, months to get it. And you have to let them. They have to learn how to fall and safely as they will a lot in this process. The normal one is plop on their bum, usually well padded with a nappy. They will also fall forward, so see above at making it safe and sharp corners etc are covered but you can't and should not catch them every time. They have to learn to either style it out and drop the shoulder in to a roll or put their hands out, firstly to the floor and then to catch themselves if they can. Their wee heads are the heaviest parts of their bodies at the moment and will cause them to topple over and if they don't put their hands out or learn to divert weight they will bop it a lot. My wee one is growing horns on either side of her forehead as she has bruise on bruise. Arnica at the ready always. But she has learned to hold on to the things she is balancing off and leans down to put a hand on the floor when lowering herself. It had to be her lesson.
Helping hands - Once they get the idea of arm / leg coordination , there will no stopping them wanting to walk with you all the time. So get ready to never be able to hold a conversation again , as they will climb up leg, grab your hands and want you to help them toddle off in every direction. You will be hunched over and trust me , good core muscles here are helpful as you will be the first to break , not them. They can walk around like this for ages ! There are a few items on the market to help, a walking stick , that is horizontal not vertical that has hoops on it, you hold the stick, they hold the hoops and walk around. That way, you're not hunched and they are learning to balance themselves. But the conversation in one spot with another is still not going to happen. Soon they will graduate to holding just one of your hands and walking around , then poof they will let go and off they go, never to return...... freedom. In all my nannying years I have noted that once your child can get from crawling to pushing up to standing , not holding on to anything , just a straight body curl, and they then bend their knees and lower themselves part way back down and raise themselves back up. Thats the click and connect in the brain and they will take their first independent steps with in days and you officially have a toddler.
I have also found I am having to help my wee one with foot placement. Just like I helped her crawl in cross patterning her, vertical marching to get the brain to switch on, I am having to help her , train her, to place her feet. She is wanting to want of a better word levitate from crawling and climbing up , she goes from sitting on her knees to lifting herself with core strength I am envious of, from that position to upright on her tippy toes! Then she pops her feet flat. This way of doing it has a 50 / 50 success rate and she falls forward missing her mark and on to her face ! So I am actively behind her, holding one leg down a getting her to place the foot flat and pushing up from her knee to rise. Its taken a few weeks and her yelling at me , but she does now do it as it has connected in her brain that A this is easier, B better and C less painful and better success rate !
This is such a wonderful time in their lives and one of the mile stones of the stepping stones. That first tentatively, drunken sailor moment when they launch off from the safety of the couch and or your partners arms and toddle to you is one of the great joys in life. I am looking forward to it, ( secretly can't wait ) till she does it. The look of expectation, unsure, oh I got this , wow I can do this, here I come ...... on their faces all in a space of moment is the best. So get ready , get set, go o use different parts of the foot , the body and the co ordination to plot a course. Plus to stimulate the brain , feeling grass underfoot or soft carpet, hard gravel , sand and water is fun. Nothing like squelching gooey mud between your toes. Once your wee one is walking and properly then go get them fitted properly for shoes. Obviously some times having a sole on is better, hot pavements, that can be dirty and or unsafe, ie broken glass , mess , etc. Cold winters days and puddle jumping are best in wellies or proper attire on their feet. I say for first foot wear do get them sized correctly as it helps to encourage the walking journey. They are still learning balance and proper placement of weight between heel and toes, Learning to walk heel to toe and the right size and width of shoes definitely helps with that. Once they have 'got it' by all means pop them in hand me downs but remember that someone else has moulded them first and has different feet size and shape and can hinder bubs development in the early stages.
This is such a wonderful time in their lives and one of the mile stones of the stepping stones. That first tenantive, drunken sailor moment when they launch off from the safety of the couch and or your partners arms and toddle to you is one of the great joys in life. I am looking forward to it, ( secretly can't wait ) till she does it. The look of expectation, unsure, oh I got this , wow I can do this, here I come ...... on their faces all in a space of moment is the best. So get ready , get set, go