Friday, June 14, 2013

Walking alone!

At nine months Michelle was pulling up, cruising and could take a couple of wobbly steps but she wasn't quite walking on her own. I was leaning over breaking my back, holding her hands to help her walk down the hallway. (Actually that started at 7 months but I used to have to hold her chest and over time I could loosen my grip and hold her arms or her hands instead.) Now at 10 months she can walk down the hall and from one room to the next all by herself! The first time she came waddling toward me from way across the room was exciting, for Michelle and for me. Now there's no stopping her.

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:


I read that babies can start walking any time after 9 months but most don't really master it until a year or so. Of course there are the daredevils who start to walk at 7 months (apparently I did but back then I had the help of a walker to hone my skills. They're against the law now.) Some don't walk at all until 15-18 months. It depends on the child, their confidence level and opportunity. In some ways I think I was holding Michelle back. She might have walked even sooner. I was a little overprotective and used to surround her with pillows and try to keep her safe in a very small area. As I became more relaxed about letting her move more (well, relaxed isn't the right word. I don't think I've ever quite been relaxed in the past 2 years! I just gave up trying to control everything because it seemed impossible and allowed her a bit more freedom) she became more adventurous. Of course the more practice a child gets the faster they learn.

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.

Although I'm thrilled that she's walking now and it's so much fun watching her, obviously there is stress that comes with it as well. I will have to start locking up the cupboards so that she can't get into everything. Already she pulled a package of cookies off the table and spilled them all onto the floor. I didn't think she could reach the top of the kitchen table. (I had a craving for Arrowroot cookies dipped in tea. I only got to have a couple before she pulled them all onto the floor. It's a good job I didn't have the tea close to the edge. Strangely enough her father wouldn't let me eat the cookies either. He ate almost a whole package himself and then when I tried to eat one he even ate it right out of my hand!)

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.


  1. Yeah for walking!!! I knew she would be soon!! For the cupboards, I locked up all but 1 in the kitchen & moved all the Tupperware & plastic stuff there & Elena was satisfied to have that cupboard to play in she never bothered with the others.

    1. I'll have to do something like that. I can't believe with all the toys she has Michelle's favourite things to play with are little plastic bowls and spoons, water bottles, boxes etc.