About six weeks ago, Ryan started letting go of one thing to walk to another. It was never more than a few steps and he outright refused to do it on command, so we weren’t sure how close he was to actually walking. Still, we try to celebrate those inchstones, and this was kind of a major one. We were all very excited.
Then, at the beginning of September, he had a breakthrough during one of his physical therapy sessions. His PT had encouraged us to have him push things around: diaper boxes, toy bins, laundry baskets…things that wouldn’t tip over if he put a lot of weight on one end. We hadn’t seen much success, since he’d rather climb on or sit in things than push them across the floor.
His PT has always worked with what we have available, rather than bringing in equipment or toys we wouldn’t be able to use later. This time she grabbed the doll stroller to see if he’d try pushing it. Ryan had always preferred to ride in it, being pushed around by his sisters. On that day, though, something clicked. He realized he could be the one who pushed it. We put a teddy bear in the stroller, showed him what to do, and off he went!
It. Was. Awesome.
We all cheered and clapped as he marched around proudly, pushing that little pink stroller like he’d been doing it his entire life. His confidence was adorable. What blew me away, though, was that the stroller provided zero support. It’s so lightweight that if he had tried to lean on it for balance, it would’ve tipped right over. He was walking on his own; he just needed something to hold onto for some extra confidence.
And that was it. He spent a few days pushing things around before deciding he didn’t need help anymore.
My boy, who less than a year ago refused to put his feet on the ground at all, could walk.
He hasn’t stopped walking since.
I’ll confess, I get frustrated with him a lot now that he’s more mobile. He throws a fit when I try to carry him somewhere instead of letting him walk. Going anywhere takes more time these days because his toddling sets the pace. And he does not want to hold my hand in parking lots, which gives me endless anxiety.
But I try to be patient. He worked so hard to get here and is making up for lost time. He’s happier now that he can get around on his own two feet. More demanding and, uh, adventurous, yes, but also more independent. Walking has opened the world to him, and it’s been marvelous to watch him discover what he can do.
Suddenly he doesn’t feel like a baby anymore. It’s exciting and a little heartbreaking at the same time.
Does it ever get easier to watch your babies grow up?
Could anything be more delightful?
My guess is no and no. I’m okay with that.