When I go back to work Baby M will have just turned one. Around this age babies (or I guess toddlers!) often say their first words (other than mama and dada) and start to walk unaided.
First words are complicated. It's not so much a case that the word needs to recognisably sound like the word used in the native language, but they need to use the word consistently for the same thing. Baby M has said 'mum' type noises for several months, but it's still not clear if it's just a sound she likes to make, if she is using it interchangeably for me and her Dad, or if she is using it specifically for me. Sometimes I suspect it might even be her word for milk (as if I didn't feel like a cow at times already). So when she says another word I wonder how long it will take us to realise?
Walking is easier to recognise. Again it happens in stages often starting with cruising around furniture and progressing to walking with both of their arms held, then one. They usually have the ability to walk unaided before they do: holding on for emotional support rather than physical. Of the 2 milestones I feel that the first unaided steps are more special.
Being independent and stubborn (like her mother), Baby M hasn't shown any interest in walking with my support. If I hold her hands she just buckles her knees, but using her pushchair, high chair (or any other moving object) as a walker she would happily move around.
Suddenly, in the last 2 weeks, 11 month old Baby M is showing an interest in walking. Sometimes she will hold onto both of my hands and walk around, other times she seems really steady and holds one of my hands and walks around ten steps.
On Friday I looked up and saw Baby M let go of the sofa and walk 3 or 4 steps completely unaided across the room! I was so excited. I know it is going to be a while before I can say she can walk: she still can't stand unaided for more than a few seconds and she can't get herself from sitting to standing without help.
I am so happy, even if she doesn't do it again for months, I saw my baby girl's first steps and that can never be taken away from me.
|"look at me, I can stand (briefly)"|