Oh no, I created a walking monster!

For the past month or so, Buddy has been practicing walking at infant care and home. Before that it was just cruising; he slowly learned to stand on his own without support. He tentatively took one or two steps before inadvertently falling. He kept trying and when he was able to stand and clap his hands without falling, my husband and I cheered him on. Over time he was able to take a few steps unaided inside the play pen.

We have been keeping Buddy in the play pen for his safety. My husband set it up so that one end is blocked by the coffee table and the other by the glass door to the patio. But Buddy yearned for freedom (though it’s more likely he got bored inside the play pen), and figured out ways to escape. Initially he would drop to a crawl once outside the play pen. He probably felt it was faster for him to move around this way. My husband kept encouraging him to stand to play ball. He was able to walk a few steps, then more steps, and gradually, despite being a little unsteady on his feet and falling a number of times, persisted in walking around.

Buddy would get really excited, squealing with delight, as he showed off his walking ability while carrying a toy. My husband called Buddy ‘Baby Dinosaur’ because of his gait.

A couple of weeks ago, we decided to get a pair of shoes for Buddy so that he can walk when we take him out. But when we tried them on him, he cried and insisted on sitting on the floor, refusing to stand. My husband thought it was a little too distressing for him since he wasn’t used to the shoes, and so we shelved the idea.

Over the following weeks, Buddy was walking more and more at home. So last weekend we decided to try to get shoes for him again. We checked out Mothercare flagship store at Harbourfront Tower, first trying out a pair of so-called quality leather shoes on Buddy, but he didn’t like it. Then we got him to try a pair of canvas shoes. After my husband put him down, he stood frozen on the spot.

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My husband tried holding Buddy’s hands, coaxing him to walk but he would only take one step. Even when I tried tempting him with a ball, he dropped down on the floor and crawled instead.

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My husband didn’t think the shoes were right for Buddy; it was as if he didn’t know what to do in them. But we decided to get him a pair of soft crawler shoes to wear at home to get used to them.

That evening I decided to get Buddy to try out the shoes. I put them on him to take him to the nearby grocery store. When I tried getting him to walk, he started whimpering. But I held his hand and urged him along, and once he started taking a few steps, he got pretty excited.

On Sunday, we took Buddy to the supermarket and my husband tried leading him by the hand, but he refused to be held and instead wanted to walk on his own. He was happily walking up and down the aisle to show that he’s now a big boy.

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Buddy is still not walking completely at ease yet, as he will sit down on his bums when he feels a little unsteady on his feet. But he will get up and walk again, as he relishes the freedom to go where he wants to. I have to be insistent at holding his hand if I don’t want a runaway baby. Still this means that as a family, we have greater mobility soon and doesn’t always have to bring along the stroller.

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