I’ve been saving this Van Gogh painting for months thinking it would be fun to post on the day Nora started walking. My older 3 sons all started walking when they were about 10 months old. Nora (current age: 13 months) must be on an entirely different time table. It’s not that I’ve been anxious for her to walk but I have been puzzled by her complete disinterest in the whole process. She cruises around holding onto furniture or someone’s hand, but if you gently suggest she stand on her own, she immediately plops down on her bum and launches off into a speedy crawl.
Last night I was playing the piano with Nora on my lap (who knew Mozart had such a fondness for dissonance?). Finally, when I'd had enough of her colorful "accidentals" and extra flourishes on the keys, I set her down next to the piano. I assumed she would grab onto my leg or the piano bench for balance. Instead, she steadied herself in a standing position and trotted over to Ethan who was sitting on the couch – 4 or 5 steps away. Shocked and amazed, Ethan and I got into “walk to me baby!” positions on the floor and let her march back and forth between us a few times. Then (when it was obviously not a fluke but a genuine, bona fide Milestone Moment) we ran to get her Dad and the video camera.
Apparently Nora has been holding out on us. Ethan says she must have been practicing walking in her crib in the middle of the night. Maybe she’s just a perfectionist and wanted to get it right before unveiling her talent instead of embarrassing herself, as all my other children did, with that prolonged drunken sailor phase. Maybe she’s just a cautious child and had to build up the confidence to walk even though she’s had the strength for months. Maybe she had the power all along but just didn’t realize it (ah, there’s a Dorothy and her ruby slippers metaphor in there somewhere).
I’m amused by her new trick, but I’m also more than a little sad. She’s my last baby and now she’s not a baby anymore. She’s officially a toddler. Is it weird that I don’t want her to stay in the helpless infant stage but at the same time I don’t want her to step away from it? I feel excited. I feel strangely remorseful. I feel confused. I feel old.