Sunday, September 5, 2010

The tortoise wins this race!

Well, it's coming, it's only a few days away... I can feel it! Bear is going to be walking, on her own, very soon... When it comes to walking, bear has become the proverbial tortoise, slowly and steadily inching her way towards a full upright independent walking position. This slow paced start with mobility began way back in December with rolling. Back and forth across the room she would go, rolling her way from toy to the next, from mom to dad, from blanket to dog. Sometimes we'd pivot but mostly we'd just see how far we could get by merely rolling away from where we started. We then began to belly slide. Bear perfected a front crawl/free style belly slide technique, propelling herself forward by pulling and kicking with her arms and feet. She was surprisingly pretty good at getting around this way and if it wasn't for her baby Buddha-like belly she probably could have picked up a pretty good speed.

Bear held on tight to these unique moving skills until the very last possible moment-- right when mommy began to wonder if we were really ever going to crawl at all. I began to think that she might skip crawling all together. But I was most certainly wrong! And then- ***poof *** - on a sunny early spring day, while visiting the park, bear laid tummy down on the grass watching the other kiddos and taking in the scenery. I sat right behind her, dreaming about what life was going to be like if we did decide to crawl... and amidst my dreamy thoughts bear up and crawled away from me as if she had been crawling forever, in perfect technical fashion... I guess that's what I get for ever doubting her.

So of course with all this time we took to perfect our crawling, I was ready to watch bear cautiously wait out her walking skills. She seems to have it all planned out in her head, first I'll learn to do this and then I'll wait for my muscles to get a little stronger, and then after I ponder about it some more, I will do it! But only when you're least expecting it, of course!

So here we go: Walking skills began with pulling up, which lead to a little cruising, which then lead to a lot of cruising. Skip ahead a few weeks to our visit to NY: bear begins to walk with mommy while holding hands. Upon our return home bear begins using the walls and anything else she can find at shoulder height to help herself move a long. This pattern then slowly developed into walking with only one hand being held.

So here we are, our walking skills have certainly plateaued. There is no where else for bear to go in regards to her walking progress, we can only move on to full 100% walking from this point, right? Wrong! Just this past weekend bear began doing some other silly walking type things. She started walking in a lunging position (right knee bent up with left knee bent down-- as if to propose on bended knee), dragging her left knee along the carpet and scooting along with the other knee upward towards the sky. Following these silly attempts at walking, bear tried her first independent step last night while we were outside. You could see in her face and body language that she was thinking about it, planning it all out again in her head... but still no really walking steps.

Today's progress has been the best so far! After doing some chores this morning bear was standing up all by herself and daddy was FINALLY a little successful at coaxing her into taking some steps. And, VOILA! Bear walked by herself for 4 steps! Yay! And then we didn't again, and again,... and... that was it... Bear made up her mind and was back to crawling again. And, just like she teased us before [with crawling] by rocking back and forth while up on all fours, she is teasing us again with her perfect little four steps.

At least with this slow pace I know that she won't be much of a wobbly walker, once she really starts walking. Her cruising, and pulling up and down have always been very coordinated. I would imagine that this is what happens when baby is not super eager and just waits for her body to give her the go ahead. Most mommy's tell me "just wait till she starts walking... she'll get into everything!" But, bears already pretty good at doing this while cruising and crawling and she can pick up pretty good speed while down on her hands and knees. When it comes to crawling bear is more like the hare, and I find myself running after her quite frequently.

Either way, I am not eager nor upset that bear is taking her slow and steady pace with the walking race. She is who she is, she is cautious and willing to wait certain things out because she's too busy doing other things like figuring out toys and looking at her books. I know, I know, I sound like a bit of a snotty mommy now... all I'm really trying to say is: I'm perfectly happy with just the way things are!

***This post was originally wrote (or started) on Sunday September, 5th. As of today, the 15th, bear is basically walking. This morning she walked almost all the way across the living room by herself. She is still taking it all at a slow pace and prefers crawling to walking over walking. She's doing a great job!  

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