“Is he walking yet?”

1950s: Baby called Jesús Ballesteros learning to walk with a wicker frame www.retronaut.com

1950s: Baby called Jesús Ballesteros learning to walk with a wicker frame http://www.retronaut.com

Last night after dinner, my husband and I watched our 3 year old spin himself so dizzy in the middle of the kitchen that he fell over and knocked his head on the oven door. He got up, laughing and proceeded to keep spinning, even though he could barely stand up after the first round.

Why? Why do they do things like that?

Walking down the sidewalk with my 5 year old is like watching a popcorn kernel in the popper. He zigs. He zags. He jumps. He jolts. He falls down the curb. Every time.

Why?

There is a tiny landing at the top of our stairs that is more of a gymnastics spring board than a flat piece of carpet. We’re nearing three years in this house and I don’t think a single child has ever walked across it. Summersaults, hand stands, cartwheels, roundoffy hand springs all happen here in the small 6 x 6 square full of hard wooden doorways that lead to the bedrooms. A safer location for flailing arms and legs would definitely be impossible to find in our home or backyard.

Why?

It seems about the time a child is nearing their first birthday everyone asks, “Is he walking yet?” If your child is, you proudly answer. If they aren’t we begin the barrage of explanations we make for their development, “Nope, but in his own time.” Or “He’s trying it out, but still crawls faster.”

When my first child was that age she didn’t walk until 14 months. Late in the scope of interested strangers and relatives afar. We practiced and practiced with her. As the first child, she got all the attention she needed. When she did decide to walk upright, she rarely fell because she’d had so much practice. With the second child, we just left him alone to figure it out. As second time parents, we knew how much trouble they get into as soon as they can walk. And he did, at 10 months. But then his head looked liked a bruised apple from all his crashes for several months until he got that balance thing conquered. The third child, we just took turns sitting on him!

Walking is such a great accomplishment for our little ones, but as we all know, they only WALK for about three days. Then their off to sprinting, crashing, spinning, crashing, skipping, crashing, salsaing and crashing. Instead of “Is he walking yet,” a better phrased question for all those inquiring minds would probably be, “Does he know how to stop yet?”

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