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Baby Steps

Author: Kate Hayes
Published Date: Tuesday, September 13, 2016

It was with a mixture of excitement, apprehension and amazement that I watched Annabel figure out this whole walking thing. I was excited to watch her conquer such a huge milestone, apprehensive about how much more she could get into, and amazed that my baby – whose birth I remember like it was just yesterday – was already old enough to walk!

Like so many things in my parenting life, I provided opportunities and support for Annabel as she started to tackle the task of walking. I kept telling Hayes_Baby Steps 1myself she would do it in her own time. I couldn’t slow down her developing skills to safety-proof the house or rush her progress so that I could check off this benchmark.

I encouraged her efforts. I set toys along the couch to incentivize her to pull up, and she cruised along the edge of the furniture to grab them. I spent countless hours hunched over as she practiced walking with the support of my two hands, then one hand, and finally one finger for balance and security. It was rewarding to see her getting closer and closer to being a walker, but it was also frustrating. I knew the only thing holding her back was the fear of falling. When she realized she was taking a couple of steps on her own, she immediately sat or fell down. If she would just let go of the fear, I thought, she would be walking.

Hayes_Baby Steps 2Finally the time was right. This past weekend, she finally let go. She walked all by herself! Then she babbled a phrase with a huge smile on her face. I swear it sounded like, “I did it.” Of course, we clapped and cheered. She has been mastering her walking technique ever since.

My 9-year-old niece has been trying to learn to ride her bike. When she saw the videos of Annabel walking – falling, walking, falling, walking and finally walking – she said Annabel inspired her to overcome her own fear of falling. Her mother just sent me a video of my niece riding her bike. I know my niece was thinking, “I did it!”

In so many life situations, we often have to take a risk, let go of fear and trust the timing in order to learn something new.

Whether our children are figuring out how to walk, ride a bike, start a new school year, learn a new skill or face a new challenge, it is about trusting the timing. We, as parents, can provide opportunity, space and support as our children learn and grow … and when the time is right, we have to let go.

About Kate Hayes

Kate Hayes lives in Virginia Beach, VA and is a first time parent to Annabel – born on July 22, 2015. Kate is a yoga and aerial fitness instructor. She especially enjoys teaching on the beach, and is certified in laughing yoga, and prenatal yoga. Kate and her husband, Robert, enjoy spending time with their daughter and their two dogs.