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12 Months and Cruising: Some Thoughts on First Steps and Milestones
Sometimes it may feel like everyone is in a hurry for your little one to grow up. Everyone but you. A few months ago I shared that my little Lola was still rolling around. She was just as content as she could be but people seem perplexed by the fact that she wasn’t crawling. Eventually, in her own time she began crawling and not long after she was crawling came questions as to whether or not she was walking and why she wasn’t. It was a question that filled many conversations at her birthday. Perhaps too many. It’s hard to understand why people are so concerned with the milestones of our babies. The doctor’s not concerned. We’re not concerned and yet everyone else is. “Is she walking yet?”
Usually I will answer saying that she isn’t, that she is cruising – “She’s taking her time,” I say. Taking her time after all, is a characteristic that will serve her well in life. Why rush things? Inside I can’t help but think of all of the other amazing things she is doing right now, things people will never know because they are only concerned with when she will take her first steps solo.
I mean have you seen the way her eyes light up when she’s happy?
Have you seen her sign for more or tell you that she’s all done?
Have you watched her squeal with happiness as she crawls through the grass looking for leaves to wave in the air?
Have you seen how happy she is as she holds on to furniture cruising through the living room?
Have you seen how she wiggles with delight when music plays or when she tastes one of her favorite foods?
Have you seen her sweetly rest her head upon the shoulders of the ones she loves or share her cheerios? ( I could go on and on.) My sweet baby is happy. She is happy being a baby and living in whatever stage of babyhood she is in.
The day after her party I told my husband how much it bothered me that so many people have something to say about my baby’s milestones. They are quick to let me know when their child walked and suggest that I must be doing something wrong. Most often it’s that I hold her too much. And yes, I do hold her, I hold her in my arms as I rock her to sleep and as we dance across the living room but I also give her the opportunity to play and to explore beyond the comforts of her mama’s arms. So much so, that these days she is quick to wiggle her way out of them. But as I watch her growing ever so quickly, sometimes I can’t help but wonder if I actually hold her enough.
If I stop myself long enough to gaze down at the sweet little person crawling across the floor to a still object and pull herself up, if I take a moment to look at the grin that graces her face as she stands tall balancing for a few moments then it becomes crystal clear that I am doing something right. If I close my eyes a stream of a year’s worth of magical memories and images flood my mind, all of them reminding me that this is right.
My baby is happy and she has taught us that she will do things in her own time and when she is ready. This weekend as I watched her face light up surrounded by family and friends who wanted to wish her the happiest of birthdays I felt a deep sense of gratitude. We made it. All of the moments and milestones that made up our baby’s first year brought us here. And here is good. It’s magical. Here is the place where I can now look back and realize that every challenge and sacrifice was worth it. Every moment poured into loving this little girl was a moment well spent. Here is also the place where I look to the future, a future of learning, growing and changing not just for Lola but for our family. A future where one day Lola will take her first steps and subsequently her daddy, big sister and I will remind her of a promise we made to her back when she was much smaller a promise that we would be there for her every step of the way.
Whenever my baby decides to take those first steps I will be there and every day after. And I will stop not just to marvel at the wobbly steps that will evolve into confident strides but also at the smile that has graced her face during each phase of her development, a smile that was once all gums now home to 7 – almost 8 teeth, a smile that reminds me each and every day that surely, I am doing something right.
Today I would like to encourage you mamas to not get so caught up in what your baby isn’t doing that you fail to see the magic in everything that they are doing. Our babies are magic mamas. Magic.