Monday, January 11, 2010


Nathaniel is walking.

I'm a little late in letting you in on the news – about a month, in fact. So, let me catch you up on this monumental development.

Natty's walking saga began, as it does with probably all babies, with an accidental step or two as he went from clinging to one object (say, a table) to another object (like his miniature shopping cart). He had no idea what he had done, but Michelle and I sure knew. With a knowing glance and nod, we figured it would be just a few days before our little boy was strutting around the room.

How wrong we were.

For out of those "Oops! I walked" steps came a string of days when Natty did nothing else but crawl. I'd like to think we're generally laissez faire kind of folks, but after a while, we got impatient and wanted to see Nathaniel repeat his fancy little trick. So, we'd stand him up and coax him to walk toward us. We were mildly successful at our ploy. Mostly, Nathaniel would drop immediately from his contrived standing position to crawling and scoot over to us, a big grin flashing across his face. "Look, Mom, I'm here. I made it!" he seemed to be saying. He had no idea that we were trying to get him to attempt another form of locomotion.

So, we gave up. Better said, we shelved the idea of rushing the little guy into bipedalism. He'd learn eventually, we figured.

Eventually took some time. Yet, suddenly, we noticed him taking two, then three steps all by himself. We also noticed he was doing this with some regularity, mixing in occasional steps even as he mostly crawled. So, we started coaxing him again. Gently. No pressure, kid. We just want to see what you're capable of. 

Days before Christmas and a time when we'd be visiting my sister and her family, Nathaniel set his personal record by taking seven upright, stiff-legged steps to Daddy. We cheered. We clapped. We roared with delight.

And he reverted to crawling.

At my sister's house, however, the walking bulb finally went off. Nathaniel began walking more, not only stringing steps together but at times making walking his first choice of movement. I think it was because he watched his three cousins, and, admiring them greatly, wanted to mimic what they were doing. Plus, with sets of cousins and relatives in different rooms, I imagine he wanted to keep abreast of the action in as many places as possible. No matter, it appeared to be a decided change in mentality. Our little boy seemed to want to master walking.

Watching a baby walk for the first time (and times) is a mix of comedy and dread. The comedic part comes from watching the movement; in Natty's case, he looked like someone on stilts. His legs were stiff and he lurched from side to side. As he took each step, he looked perilously close to listing over. If one sway was too exaggerated, down he'd go. Or, he'd accumulate too much forward momentum and down he'd go. 

Those falls aren't particularly forbidding when you're a couple of feet off the ground and cushioned with fat and diapers but to a parent, it can be scary. After all, who wants to watch a child fall and possibly get hurt? So, that's the dread I'm speaking of. 

The kid-on-stilt phase lasted in earnest for a couple of weeks. This weekend, it really looks as if Natty Lou has opted for walking over crawling. We watched as he walked through the kitchen into the dining room (converted into his playroom), hung a right and walked through the playroom and into the den, stopping at the coffee table for a well-deserved congratulatory hug. You can see his confidence going with each series of steps. Yes, he's still stiff-legged, and no, he's not running, but he's much more fluid in his walking than he was even a week ago.

This time, there is no turning back. Our boy is walking, determinedly. Video to come soon.

1 comment:

Leeann said...

I can hardly wait to see!

That is the way it is with kids. They do what they do in their own time, while we watch and cheer and worry.

God love him!