So you might remember I was in gushing form last week, when my baby boy started walking. Cue tears, heart bursting-out-of-chest with pride, silly mammy taking a million pictures and videos, and a permanent grin on my face from marvelling at how incredible by little dude is.
Yes… well let’s just say a week or so into walking and the shine has worn off things very quickly, because as it turns out, a walking toddler is pretty much just like a very drunk, tiny person, staggering around making unreasonable requests, who is somehow always attracted to whatever is most dangerous...
Jesus wept, this is going to be hard. Fun…. I mean fun…. No wait I was right the first time! You see, getting to the walking stage has always had sort of mythic status in my mind. No matter what we were doing, I'd think to myself, image how amazing this will be when he is walking?
When I'd be wheeling him in the pram on our daily dog walk - soon you'll be walking with me.
When I'd be putting him in the car seat - soon you can hop in yourself.
When I'd be in the garden with him watching from the window - soon you'll be playing out here.
When we'd be doing the groceries - No scrap that, having him in the shopping trolley is madness enough!
But when you’re a new mum to a cute newborn you do hear battle hardy parents saying things to you like;
‘Oh just wait till he’s walking, you’ll need eyes in the back of your head!’ As they get a glazed look in their eye and stare into the distance in a weird sort of way as if they are recalling some toddler trauma that still haunts them to this day!
I used to tee-hee along with those sorts of statements as you do, and put it to the dustiest corner of my mind because back then all I was concerned about was feeding him and getting him to sleep, but it turns out those other parents were spot on. Not only do I need eyes in the back of my head, but I’m also going to need a lasso, a toddler sized hazmat suit and maybe develop some kind of a Liga-on-stick device, for when he inevitably heads for the road or the edge of the stairs or basically anything sharp or dangerous, as if he’s a moth drawn into a flame
Yes walking really is that massive game-charger they kept telling me about.
So far we’ve had lots of walking related meltdowns over –
Being measured for shoes.
Getting shoes on.
Keeping shoes on.
I’m seeing a pattern emerge here!
But apart from the dreaded shoes, he’s having meltdowns over having to go back into the pram instead of being allowed to walk. Also when I try and hold his hand and failing that herd him like a sheep into a safe direction. He won’t listen to me at all and is just ensconced with his newfound abilities as a biped.
Sigh! As I’m very quickly finding out, walking is not the serene, picture-book scene I imagined, where my well behaved tot gladly holds my hand and walks in a relatively straight line beside me.
The reality could not be further from the truth. We were in M&S the other day. I thought okay let’s see if he might take a few steps here. So I took him out of the pram and after a couple of moments of shyness, he decided to bomb off in the direction of the lifts at the back of the shop, narrowly dodging a million legs, clothes rails and trolleys as he swerved and staggered at a remarkably fast pace with me running behind trying to push the empty pram at pace, apologising to all in sundry as I went. And when I did catch up to him at the lifts, all he wanted to do was press the buttons and the moment I took him away, it was WW3 with absolutely no possibility of him getting back into the pram. Ever.
Then later on that day, I thought okay we’ll do a little outdoor walk, so we brought the dog out and I put the baby down on his feet. Well by God he was chuffed with himself, but would not for the life of me entertain holding my hand or walk in even a remotely relative straight line. It was circles and zig zags and lightening quick changes of direction all over the place, not to mention he decided to sit down in the mud and puddles along the way too, just cos.
Ugh! Don’t get me wrong, I am delighted he likes walking, but it just seems like the ultimate contradiction that you suddenly give a little person this amazing mobility without even a JOT of reason to their name.
I know it's early days and like every new kid-stage things will get better the more he learns and goes on, but if I thought parenting was exhausting before, let’s just say walking has kicked it up to 100!
Once again, parents of multiple little kids, I salute you and your endless patience because I'm exhausted with just one!