Determined little bugger

Megan is 9 months and 2 days old.

Megan is hellbent on walking.

Not just walking.

Walking. By. Herself.

She gets around on her own fairly well using any one of her methods - cruising, backwards crawling, crawling, scooting on her rear-end, scissor kicking in circles. . .you name it, she does it.

And although she's happy to be self-mobile to a degree, she much prefers the sort of movement that gets her from here to there fast and on two feet. Cruising only works when she has a piece of furniture to hold onto. Big people come in handy - one hand or two - but they also have a habit of curbing her exploration. For example, mean Mommy won't let her near the plants so she can pull the leaves off. And darn Daddy won't allow her to leap on top of the dog to pull fistfuls of fur from the animal's body.

So Megan is determined to figure out this walking thing. Of course, one must wonder if she'd actually do it for real if her excitement didn't get in her way. Last night she stood at the coffee table. I sat about two feet behind her on the floor. Megan turned herself around to face me and let go with both hands. She stood still for a moment and then started to walk to me - one step, two steps, three steps, arms started flapping, baby started laughing and suddenly her pudgey little arms were wrapped around my neck as she nuzzled her face into my arm.

She tried a command performance for at least a half hour afterwards. She'd go from Dad to Mom with big brother sitting off to the side as her personal cheering section. "GO MEGAN! YOU CAN DO IT! YOU'RE A BIG GIRL!" he'd yell and clap for her. "Look Mom! Look Dad! She's walking!"

Yet she wasn't - not really. Steady her on her feet facing Dad and she'd turn herself around to face Mom. Then she'd flap her arms as if she'd rather fly than walk. She'd giggle and she'd lunge, falling into my arms instead of walking into them. Each time she'd get so excited to be there on her own feet, on her own balance - thrilled knowing that she had taken solo steps moments before - that she'd flap and giggle and over do it. She'd giddily knock herself off balance and the whole 'walking' thing would fall to the way side.

But she's close. She's so very close. When she's not overthinking it - when she's not focused on the fact that no one is holding her up, she walks. She does a small number of steps here and there before she realizes she's doing it and either reaches out for a support as her confidence oozes out of her or giddily knocks herself back on her butt with the excitement of her clapping.

Sometimes we can't wait for her to figure it all out - our backs ache for her independence. The idea that she can satisfy her own need to be in motion without our assistance seems delightful. Yet there is also the understanding that a fully mobile and hands free Megan means nothing is safe. Not the dog. Not the plants. Not big brother's loot of toys. Not the diaper basket, the book shelf, the stash of DVDs and video tapes. Nothing.

I suppose now is a good time to figure out how to work those baby gates again.

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