Learning To Walk

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What Is Walking?

I have heard all sorts of parents talk about their babies “learning to walk.”

“Johnny was walking at seven months!”

“Sally was walking at ten months!”

“Jimmy didn’t walk until 18 months!”

But, what I never understood and, therefore, never questioned before becoming a mother, is what, exactly, they meant by “walking.”

Madison was pulling herself up on things and “walking” along a couch or table by seven to eight months; she took her first steps, by herself, without support or holding onto anything, at around nine months.  BUT, what I mean by that, is that she took two to four wobby little steps before falling down.  To me, that’s not really walking.  But, maybe I’m alone here.

So then the thought crept into my head, if that’s not walking, what is?

And I don’t know the answer!  I think it’s kind of a little bit like porn…..you’ll know it when you see it, LOL!

How Quickly Do They Learn To Walk?

Then my other thought was wondering how long it takes to get from those two to four wobbly steps to full-fledged walking (whatever that means).  Do they take those first couple of wobbly steps and then within a week they’re walking everywhere?  [No.]  Do they take those first two to four steps and then not really walk for six more months?  [Also no.]  I felt consumed for a little while over these questions, these little irrelevant insecurities we feel as parents.

Then I reminded myself: just let it be.  They will do what they do, when they do it, on their own timeline, and each baby is different.

Maddie’s Timeline

  • Around 9 Months: Took two to four tentative, wobbly steps before falling, and not terribly gracefully.
  • Around 9.5 Months: Became more brave, and made it approximately six steps before falling, slightly more gracefully.
  • Around 10 Months: Cruising everywhere.  Very comfortable walking, but preferred doing so while holding onto something.

Cruising

  • Around 10.5 Months: Started letting go in between things to hold onto while “cruising.”  So, would cruise along the couch, get to the end, let go, walk the four to six steps to the coffee table, grab that, and continue cruising.
  • Around 11 Months: Started pushing off and walking in open spaces, making it approximately 10 steps before falling, which was much more controlled and graceful.

Walking 11 Months

  • Around 11.5 Months: Distance walked started increasing dramatically; she would frequently make it 20+ steps before going down.  Started adding a Maria Sharapova-esque grunt when she would fall, as if she was frustrated by the fact that her legs weren’t doing what she wanted them to.
  • Just Before One Year: Distance walked continued increasing.  We’re now four days from her first birthday, and last night she walked from my bathroom, which is in my bedroom, down the hall, and across the entire living room to her brother’s bedroom.

I still don’t know what I consider the true definition of “walking” to be, but I know we’re much closer now than we were when she took her first steps almost three months ago.  It’s all she wants to do now.  She’s so proud of herself when she walks.  It’s absolutely hilarious to watch.  I can’t wait to watch her continue to progress.

Does It Matter When?

Of course not!  Well, I guess it does in a few circumstances: if your baby isn’t taking steps by one year, you should talk to your doctor.  But for the most part, babies all progress at their own speed, and when one baby does something has zero significance to when another baby will do it.  It’s just like the growth charts and percentiles; as long as your baby is falling into a very wide range of “normal,” you’re all good.

That said, I know it’s difficult not to get caught up in these details, but try.  Try hard.  Don’t push a child to hit milestones until they’re ready; pushing them early can cause more harm than good.  And realize that “normal” has a very big window.  Just enjoy the milestones as they come; don’t worry so much about when they happen.

When did your babies walk?  What does “walking” mean to you?  I’d love to hear your feedback; go ahead and leave a comment!

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