On Friday there was a knock at the door and there on the doorstep was one smiling, happy, walking baby, from now on known as a toddler…
On picking my son up from nursery on Friday, I was a more than a little dismayed to hear one of the girls casually ask, ‘He is walking now, isn’t he?’ Ummm, no, not exactly. To hear that he had been walking all day and not crawling at all induced slightly irrational feelings of resentment; I found myself marvelling at the way my son had chosen to start walking without me. What had they done at nursery that had driven him to his wobbly legs and sent him racing into toddler-hood?
My son actually took his first steps weeks ago, just after he turned the grand old age of nine months. Every now and then he would sporadically take a couple of steps, teasing us with his athletic agility, daring us to believe that he was some kind of super baby. But, I tell you- you should see him crawl! There ought to be little cartoon dust clouds behind him. He is fast. He can get away and half way up the stairs before you’ve even put your bag down. He’s been doing this for ages.
The walking has been a slower process. My daughter never bothered with crawling; she took her first steps just after she turned ten months and within two days she was walking properly. My son, however, has to be different. After thinking he would walk even earlier than her, he stoped. Crawling was obviously the mode of transport he preferred, after the sling of course. But then…
Then he spent an entire day, away from me and my camera and my camcorder and my phone at the ready to text all who cared. He spent that day WALKING!!! To be fair, he did perform for me at home, too. But it wasn’t quite the same. I felt a little cheated.
But, the question I asked myself that night (once I had finished texting everyone I knew who knew him and right after I updated my status on facebook) was this: if he is walking now, does that mean he is no longer a baby? He might be my last one. Who knows? Do I really want a toddler already? Is he different now? So I peeped in on him sleeping and I watched his tiny chest rise and fall and his fingers twitch slightly… and then I stepped on a creaking floorboard in his room. In all the excitement of the walking, I had misjudged where those damned floorboards were!
Of course, he woke up. Of course, he cried for about half an hour. Of course, he needed me to stroke his head over and over until he was calm enough to sleep again. So I suppose I had my answer. Baby or toddler, he’s just the same as he was yesterday.