It's a big relief on my back not to have to bend over to guide her along anymore. It was killing me. It's great that she can entertain herself and I don't have to worry (as much) about her getting hurt. Each day she gets better at walking and can go further without stumbling.
I did some decluttering to give her more room to move. She seems to walk better on the main floor where I have ceramic tile and hardwood than she does upstairs on the carpet. She has a habit of curling her toes under. The hard floor underneath her gives her more stability. The only problem is that it's not very forgiving when she falls. Fortunately 99% of the time she falls on her butt. She did have one slip up where she hit her head on the closet door. She had a bump at first but I put some frozen peas on it and by the next day you couldn't see anything.
Of course I had to record this milestone on video so I got some footage of her walking, carrying her monkey, falling and getting back up etc. Here is the video on Youtube:
Now Michelle loves walking around. She has even started waving her hands around and gesturing (must be the italian in her!) as she chatters away in her own little language while she walks. Most of it sounds like gibberish but occasionally they sound like real words, a sort of blend of English, Italian and French (maybe she picked up a little from me here and there.) Her new favourite sound is "Buh." She has a whole series of nonsense words that start with "B" -- Bway, bnew, booey, booyay etc. She has started doing a cute backward hand wave that I think may be an Italian thing too. She is certainly very expressive -- physically and vocally.
She loves picking things up and carrying them as she walks around. Unfortunately she usually picks things (like laundry or her pet monkey) that drag the floor and then she winds up tripping on them. She is still doing her "Awww" thing and snuggling with her stuffies and with me. I'm glad she's such an affectionate little girl. Her pink monkey is her favourite stuffy though she also loves her giraffe and her clown fish puppet.
Also now that she's mobile it seems like she can't settle down. She stopped having her afternoon naps (she would rub her eyes but then refuse to go to sleep and just be super-cranky by dinnertime) and still wouldn't sleep at night. She didn't settle down until midnight and still woke up at the crack of dawn. As another Mom told me once they start walking it occupies their minds to such an extent that it interferes with sleep. It's tough when Michelle doesn't sleep not only because it means I don't get time to myself to get things done but also it makes her cranky and impossible to deal with when she's overtired.
It's so surreal to me when I watch her becoming an independent little person. Sometimes she looks over at me and smiles like she's quite proud of herself. I'm proud of her too. "Clever girl!" I encourage her. Watching her waddle along is quite entertaining. I've decided that from the back she looks like a cross between a little drunk man leaving the pub and the old man from Sanford and Son (if you weren't a child of the 70s this will mean nothing to you!) Michelle has even started dancing a little bit when a song comes on that she likes or sometimes when I sing. My Mom told me I loved to dance as a baby too.
I heard that at a year old a child is considered a "toddler" and no longer a baby. As I watch Michelle toddling around there's a part of me that is sad she'll only officially be a baby for a couple more months. Of course she'll always be my baby girl, no matter how old she is. It's hard to believe that just 10 months ago she was a helpless little newborn who couldn't hold her head up and now she's strutting around like she owns the place. Other parents warned me and it certainly is true --They grow up soooo fast. Time is flying. Photos and videos (and this blog) are my pause buttons, my way of holding on. I will always cherish these days with Michelle.