My little guy is starting to take an interest in standing and walking.
He’s able to pull himself up to his knees now. This allows him to reach the surface of the couch and he’ll stay like that for some time, placing and replacing his toys. This is fairly businesslike activity for him. He looks a little like a workman at his bench, moving items back and forth to suit his project. When he’s like this he seems to know what he wants to do and is content to do it alone. I give him space and just glance at him occasionally so as not to disturb his concentration.
But when he wants to stand it’s different. He wants to share.
He’ll pull one foot up flat and make some of the preparatory motions for pushing upright with his bent knee and then he’ll look around for one of us with a bright excited smile and mischievous eyes. He looks like a boy on the edge of great fun who has turned to share his anticipation with someone else. He wants company.
“Check this out!” I can hear him say, though of course, there are no words like that. Just a giggle and a laugh as he stands there like this.
“Daddy’s helping him to walk,” my daughter will say excitedly when I take both of his hands and help him to his feet. His eyes go wide and he takes little hesitating steps at my prodding.
We’re usually able to get half way across the living room like this (my daughter clapping and hooting out cheers for the twelve feet or so) before he either sits down on his own or I prop him up with his hands flat on the surface of the couch. It’s fun and exciting to see him move like this.
A lot of people compare children’s first steps to those of a drunks. I know there’s a comparison to be made there. He does seem to stumble along and reel when he loses his balance. But a drunk is kind of a reduced person, a caricature of an adult, and they seem pitiable or laughable in this state.
With kids, and especially a kid with his challenges, it’s like watching a man approach the edge of a cliff with newly sprouted wings. The wobbly start that my son has got seems more to me like the first uncontrolled moments in the air of a fledgling bird - a dramatic and evolutionary change. It’s a liberation from an age of limitation.
“Ahhh wooo!” my son intones as his little bottom hits the floor for his victory lap and he looks up at me with a smile. The sound is his imitation of a wolf - I don’t recall where he picked this up. It’s kind of like a battle cry for him. It's also become a nick name for him (he has many); we call him the Wolf Boy.
“Woo hoo! Great job little Wolf Boy!” I say excitedly and watch his face grow brighter and more excited. He moves off to start banging or spinning a toy and I sit down to admire him.
"Ahhh woo!" my daughter shouts out, "Yeah for the Wolf Boy!"
It won’t be long now. I can see it in the expression on his face. He sees his freedom ahead of him. He feels a little out of control right now but also elated by the sense of cutting loose from the earth.
I don’t know if it will take a week or a year for him to finally make those independent steps alone, but I’m sure he’s on his way now. He’s destined for good things. I believe it.