Monday, October 23, 2006

Baby Steps

Photo courtesy of Lauren

She toddles. Almost fifteen months from the day she first set foot on Earth, she began making her own treads. I know she's no trailblazer, but the implications in her own small sphere are enormous. My daughter is making her way in the world.

Her gait is precarious. Each step seems too light to hold her, but the halting weight of one foot against the ground, then the other, pushes her forward in a baby gust. I stop counting the movements; it seems as if she will go on forever. Then her confidence falls out from under her as she folds to a neat stop on her knees.

This is how she will get where she's going. It's literal now, but soon enough the baby steps will mean something different. It's careful exploration. It's tentativeness. It's the way one feels out a world where solidity, texture and layout is uncertain. Her first day of school. A part in a play. A sleepover. A test. This is how she will learn, by pushing herself on her own terms.

I am proud of her pacing. I thought early on that I wanted her to be the first at everything. I wanted her to be precocious. A fat, walking, talking bundle of joy. And don't get me wrong--she's joyful. But she's also small and comtemplative; calm and observant. I am so enamored by her unexpected personality that any desire I had for her to be something other than she is vanished in the gray fog of so many pre-parental ideals.
Now I know that her whims are her own. Her timing is impeccable. She is exactly right.


jen said...

and she is deliciously eatable..what a truly lovely post in celebration of a most amazing milestone. truly.

K said...

It's an exciting time. Congrats.

Mrs. Chicky said...

Yay! She's walking! Life is going to be much different from now on for both of you.

And those feet? They're edible.

Kate said...

What a lovely description. Once again, you captured the feeling I hope every mother feels with your words. I too thought my daughter would be something different than who she is, and I couldn't be happier with who she is. Her personality is truly her own right now and I sit in wonder at her determined, independent, out of the box thinking that is truly the best mesh of her father and myself. It's so incredible to watch them grow!

T. said...

How I loved the scuffs on their shoes when they learned how to walk...

Your words have just fanned the flames of my excitement to bring home the next young one!

Congrats to you and her!