Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Steps to Walking

Our baby boy was 9 months old when he first pulled himself up to a standing position.

Standing with that other baby in the mirror

Considering how good he was at crawling, and how quickly he took to standing, we figured it wouldn't be long until he was walking.

Four months later he is still not walking.

There's nothing wrong with him-- this isn't that kind of post.  He's doing the normal things that babies do, and they all have different timetables.  He happens to be an excellent crawler. He crawls faster than other kids walk.  He crawls so fast that his little rump wiggles like a dog's tail.

In fact, I suspect that his delay in walking has to do with how well he crawls.  He has no incentive to walk because he gets around so well on all fours, and once he reaches his destination, he can pull himself up to any surface.  He gets into plenty of trouble, thankyouverymuch. 

Crawl & destroy!

This long period of almost walking has given me a lot of time to consider the myriad stages between crawling, standing, and walking.  It's not something I ever would have thought about if he'd started walking earlier.  

At around 11 months is when I started to ponder the steps that lead up to walking.  He could walk if we held his arms up and sort of pulled him forward like a puppet on a string (and with exactly that much finesse and grace.)  But he didn't show any interest in walking on his own without support. And I couldn't quite see how he would turn any of his current skills into walking.  It's like there was a missing link between crawling and walking and I couldn't imagine what it looked like.  I asked other parents about it, and they didn't remember: "They just sort of do it."

What do a baby's first steps look like? It wasn't something I could picture.

Now that I've become obsessed with this issue, I've started noticing a lot of the intermediate steps, and so I can sort of imagine how he gets from crawling to walking.  Here are the steps as they've played out with my little munchkin:

June 27 (9mos, 12days): Can pull himself up to a standing position when leaning against objects.

Standing in the car seat.  We're horrible parents.

July 15 (10mos): Stands up in the crib to greet me in the morning.

Good morning, Daddy!

Aug 15 (11mos): As I sing him the "Put One Foot in Front of the Other" song, he "cruises" along the couch, walking while holding on to the sides. 

Aug 25 (11mos, 10days):  He's getting better at assisted walking, where I hold onto his hands and he stumbles forward awkwardly like a zombie puppet on a string.  He thinks this is hilarious, but he has no interest in doing it on his own.   

Sept 3 (11mos, 19days): He can half-walk, half-crawl up the stairs.


Sept 4 (11mos, 20days):  From my notes: "Walking update: He’s not. Not even close. I keep trying to get him to stand on his own, but although he’s great at standing while holding on to something, when I try to let him go of my hands, he immediately falls down."

Sept 8(11mos, 24days): He’s cruising a lot more now.  He can go almost all the way around the coffee table.

Sept 14(11mos, 30days):  Standing!  For the first time he stood unassisted for a good three seconds, shattering his previous record.  In ensuing days I can usually get him to stand for a few seconds before he falls on his butt—in front of other people even!

Look, Ma!  No hands!

Sept 17(12mos, 2days):  Made about 3-4 laps around the coffee table.

Around the table in 30 seconds

Sept 18 (12mos, 3days): One year checkup at pediatrician.  She asks if he walks pushing things, like laundry baskets, and I say, "Yes, that's exactly what he does!  He pushes the laundry basket all over the room."  This satisfies her, as she says the mechanics are fine, he just doesn't have the confidence to walk on his own yet.

He's been using laundry baskets as a walker since he was 11 months.

Sept 27 (12mos, 12days):  Now every time I put him down, I do it on his feet, and he usually stands for a few seconds.

Oct 2 (12mos, 17days):  The weather has turned cold, and for the first time in 6 months, he's wearing socks with shoes.  It seems he’s taken a “step back” (pun intended) on his walking progress.  He doesn’t like the shoes, or standing in them, and so often refuses to try.  And when he does stand, it’s not for as long as before.

He prefers to stand in bare feet

Oct 5 (12mos, 20days):  Once I was holding him standing near the fridge and he took a half step on his own toward it. A few times now when I’ve held his arms, he’s initiated walking on his own.  He didn’t need me to manipulate his arms at all.  I can sometimes get him to start walking if I sing, "Put one foot in front of the other..."

Oct 7 (12mos, 22days): Tonight he pulled himself up to the tub, and then stood up on his own with no help from me. I was in the bathroom at the time, and wondered if I was going to experience his first steps while sitting on the toilet.

Oct 14 (12mos, 30days): First steps!  My baby took two steps without any support as I held a bag of pasta out in front of him. The power of carbs!

Oct 22 (13mos, 7days): Although he took his first two steps over a week ago, I have not been able to replicate the feat.  (Not for lack of trying, though.)  As of this writing, he still seems to be uninterested in walking, or lacks the confidence to take steps on his own.  When I stand him up and coax him toward me, he stands for a while considering his options, and then drops down and crawls to me.

I imagine the next big step, besides walking, is the ability to stand up from a sitting position without the aid of some horizontal or vertical surface.  But I don't know if that will come before or after walking. 

I don't really have a good conclusion to the this post, so here's another picture of him standing:

Note his hand holding onto the table for support