Directed walking: An unexpected milestone

The big, long-expected milestone — learning to walk — came dramatically and suddenly. On January 13, at around 6 p.m., Evan learned to walk in the space of about half an hour. Yes, he had taken the occasional tiny step before that, and yes, he still needed practice afterward, but essentially it was like: BAM! We have a toddler now.

But early walking, as you’d expect, looked similar to what mathematicians (and nonmathematicians) might call a random walk. You’re moving, but you’re not going anywhere, you’re just wandering around the house. To paraphrase the Bee Gees: You can tell by the way I use my walk, that I’m a baby, because I’m not using my walk for anything.

Of course, he soon learned to use his walk to get stuff that he wanted around the house, or to go toward someone. But that was all small-scale. You still couldn’t take him outside and go somewhere (unless you carried him), because there was no direction or purpose at a macro level. He’d go a few feet in one direction, and then: ooh, leaf! Hey, pebble! Oh my goodness, there’s grass here, are you seeing this?

All of which was perfectly normal and completely adorable. But still, it’s cool to see him gradually approaching a new, fuzzier milestone I had never thought about before. I call it directed walking — continuing in the same direction for longer amounts of time, either with a goal in mind, or (more likely) just following a grown-up.

He’s getting especially good at this in the mornings, when I drop him off at daycare, because the walk from the car to the door isn’t terribly long and it’s always the same. And he seems to enjoy the rush of power that comes from propelling himself to a destination.

Hey, I get it. Occasionally I, too, will walk to a place. And when I do, I think: Damn, I’m good.

I wonder what other unexpected milestones lie ahead.

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3 responses to “Directed walking: An unexpected milestone

  1. Walking’s an excellent milestone. I agree totally that walking to a place can feel great. Sometimes, I’ll walk to a place rather than fly just to get that nostalgic buzz of not having finished growing up yet.

    Treasure these moments; all too soon Evan will be soaring through the sky like….

    Wait, you’re Human 1.3… just look at this light.

    Bipedal motion is the pinnacle of human movement.

  2. I had the same experience today! Except instead of a baby, it was a business analyst. And instead of walking, they were writing sql queries. One second you’re telling them exactly what text to put in their insert statement, the next they are looking up reference data and completing the query all on their own….

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