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Learning To Walk

Learning to walk is the most bittersweet baby milestone. Babies are so utterly delighted that they can do something as amazing as walking you can’t help being as thrilled as they are. But now baby is walking, he’s not a baby any more – he’s a toddler!

What’s a normal age to begin walking? Some babies are taking steps at 8 or 9 months, many babies are walking by 12 months. 13 months is the average age to start walking, and it’s very normal to wait to take steps until 16 or 17 months or even later.

My son was standing solo at 10 months. He’ll be walking soon! Everyone said. He was, however, quite content to stand, then plop down and crawl off. He got so quick at crawling he was faster than our dog, and so couldn’t see the point of walking. By 13 months, no sign of wanting to walk solo, even though he could push a toy with wheels perfectly well, and walk holding my hand if he felt like it.

At that point, the maternal anxiety set in. What if he was behind all the other babies? Was he normal? Was this really late for starting to walk?

He seemed physically able to walk, but just didn’t want to, or didn’t see the point of walking when he could crawl at high velocity. The trouble was, he wanted to crawl when we went to the supermarket or the bank and the hazard of being stepped on was too great.

So I insisted that he walked holding my hand, or else ride in the cart or be carried. After a couple of weeks, he decided he’d rather walk by himself, and off he toddled, at the age of 14 months.

My totally non-scientific observation of babies I know is this: babies who start walking earlier take longer to get walking well, and babies who start later are running around a couple of weeks later.

My son was going up and down steps and running within weeks of starting to walk, just as well as other toddlers his age who had been walking for months.

So in hindsight, he was so busy doing other things, he didn’t try learning to walk. But once he did, as he was older and bigger and stronger, it was easier for him to learn, and get profecient more quickly than if he’d learned at a younger age.

So he’s perfectly normal – as are babies who learn to walk at 8 months, and as are babies who learn at 18 months.

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