First steps are an amazing thing to watch.
Today, Bryce was leaning on a box of Owen’s legos. He was sorta standing by himself and giving little bounces. I clapped with him. He smiled. And then he stood by himself. Something in his eyes told me that he was ready.
For the last couple months he’s been holding hands and walking. He’s stood a couple times by himself, but not for very long and he freaked out when he realized he was on his own. When I say ‘freaked out’ I mean yelling, shaking, ‘how could you betray me by letting me go!?’ kinda fits. Red in the face. Pissed off.
But this morning he was happy and smiling. The cutest of cute times for any kid. He just leaned on the box and then stood up.
I asked him, flat out, “You wanna try?” And I walked over to him and sat down with my arms open and said, “Come on, come here.”
Here’s the part that gets me: he knew what I was asking him to do, and he did it. With all that earlier freaking out and panicking, he went for it. Three steps on his first try. (Before I grabbed him in paroxysms of joy and ruined all forward progress.) Then he did it again. Soon he’ll be doing it all the time.
But it’s not the walking that hits me, it’s seeing that he knows he can do it and he’s willing to try. It’s such an odd expression, one that only shows up at certain times in a child’s life (first words, first steps, first bike, first successful creative endeavor–“Look at my picture!”). Like the knowledge has been there the whole time and was only just uncovered.
Jenny writes dark fiction that her mother hates. Her stories and essays have appeared in Across the Margin, Pantheon, Shimmer, Black Denim Lit, Skive, and others. When she’s not writing her own stuff, she’s reading mysteries for Criminal Element. When she’s not writing fiction or reviews, she’s writing/directing/performing/designing plays at Springs Ensemble Theatre.