It’s about that time, isn’t it? You are about to take your first steps. I see it coming. Soon you will be walking, and then running, and then there will be no stopping you.
Wildling was your age when she began walking as well. I remember her taking one or two steps at a time before falling – good thing we use cloth diapers, you’ve both needed the extra padding. She took her first series of steps not towards me, not towards your papa, but towards a bug. That’s right, she really learned to walk because she wanted to catch a bug (did she want to shove it in her mouth and eat it? Probably not. But I know you would – you’ll eat anything).
Mellow, I know you’re my last baby – your papa’s doctor made sure of that, as did my aging ovaries. We had you just in time, making our goal of two kids by age thirty-five. If I had conceived you just one month later, we wouldn’t have accomplished that goal. Two children – two daughters, as I had hoped – is exactly enough for our little family. But since you are my last baby, I want to enjoy your babyhood, savor it for as long as it lasts. I won’t see another one like it until and unless the two of you have children, and, as I’ve already told your sister, you have to be twenty-five (at least!) before you’re allowed to reproduce.
I like your babyhood. I like your fine soft hair that is growing in, turning from dark brown to blond. I like your chompers, two on top, two on the bottom. Your sister’s teeth came in late and in an unusual order, so I’m not familiar with the adorableness of a gap toothed grin like yours. I like your chubby legs, and your fat feet, especially the pockets of fat on top of your tiny toes. I like watching you learn from others, watching you copy Wildling, watching you try to blow your mobile like Grandma does, watching you point and reach and express your desires. I like watching you grow and change and develop – but you are doing it too fast!
I’ll admit it. I kind of wanted a late walker – you’re so easy to carry, and it was nice to be able to sit you down in one place and find you still there minutes later. Now you crawl – silently, I might add, which is worrisome – and can move so fast. Walking is just going to get you in to more things more swiftly. Wildling, she wasn’t a crawler. She was a walker and a runner. But the key difference between the two of you is sound. When Wildling was doing nothing wrong, she was quiet. When she was up to no good, she would hum or sing to herself. I guess she thought that was a way to throw off suspicion. Now that she’s older, she pretty much announces when she’s trying to get away with something: “Mama, don’t look,” or “Mama, stay right there and face that way,” or “Mama, I’m just going to close this door for a little while, ok?” So I always know when she’s about to do something she shouldn’t. You, my baby, are quiet. You silently crawl to the bookshelf, pull everything off, and start ripping out pages. You silently crawl to Wildling’s toybox and empty its contents onto the floor. You silently leave the room. And most dangerous of all, you wake up silently and begin crawling towards the edge of the bed (we really should get a fourth side for the crib that we sidecarred to our bed, but I’m not ready to give up the ease of co-sleeping yet. I just have to be really vigilant).
You pull yourself up on the furniture, you cruise along. You come off and stand for a few seconds before falling on your butt, grinning, and getting back up again. I love that you get back up again, I love that you will pull yourself up thirty times if you have to. I love that you are becoming so mobile. But I’m not ready for your first steps.
I’m not ready for you to start walking. I’m not ready for you to start walking away from me.