Baby steps: when your little one starts walking

 Photo: Getty Images

As a parent there are so many milestones to look forward to. That first smile, first word - and, of course, that first step.

Once our baby started standing, my family and I waited with bated breath for her to take her first step.

There were many close calls. We often stopped mid-conversation and watched her intently, waiting for that glorious moment.

She could sense the air of anticipation and got excited. "What are we waiting for?" she smiled, as she flopped to the floor yet again.

Then one day she did it. She took her first tentative step. Oh, how we rejoiced. (You'd think she'd just solved world peace or something.)

And that first step was followed by … nothing. Zip. Nada.

But finally, one day, she took another step. And another. And within a couple of short weeks she was seriously on the move.

It's interesting how babies develop the motor skills to walk while still lacking the cognitive skills to know how to properly do it.

Our baby would get the idea in her head she wanted to end up somewhere, so off her little legs would go. But of course she wanted to go faster than those pudgy legs could carry her, so she would inevitably topple over at some point.


"Sheesh, you big people make this walking thing look really easy," her eyes seemed to say. "Who knew it would be so tricky?"

Once she'd mastered the concept of being vertical while moving, it was time to get her first pair of shoes.

Buying baby shoes is a big deal in my world. It fills me with all the feelings; sadness that the 'true' baby days are coming to an end, excitement about the next chapter of our lives, and joy that we're about to bring home a new pair of itsy-bitsy baby shoes (in my opinion, those mini-shoes are up there with cat memes on the adorable scale).

My baby, however, didn't agree.

While she reluctantly allowed her feet to be measured (oh, the cuteness!), and even let the shop assistant put shoes on her feet, as soon as they were on, she looked panic-stricken.

"What are these things?" her face seemed to say. "I swear I used to have feet on the bottom of my legs, and they were able to take me places. Now you've put these things on and my feet are gone!"

So she stood there, completely frozen.

We waited awhile and coaxed her on, but she refused to take a single step. Eventually she flopped to the floor and started crawling, looking at me with a wounded expression. "Thanks a lot, Mum," she seemed to say. "Now that I have these useless things on my feet I'll never be able to walk again."

Thankfully, our little lady eventually began to walk in her shoes. In fact, nowadays she walks (or, to be more accurate, runs) everywhere.

While I'm thrilled she's found her freedom and is enjoying her active life, I do kind of yearn for the old days, when I could pop her down and know she would stay in one spot.

That's the funny thing about parenting – we're always waiting so eagerly for that next stage. "Life will be so much easier when this happens," we tell ourselves. Or, "I can't wait to see my baby do that."  

And when that time comes it brings such joy and excitement, but with it comes a certain nostalgia about the time we'll never get back.

Which just goes to show we should all take it one (baby) step at a time.

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