January 2, 2013

One Small Step for Man

The pitter-patter of little feet.

It’s a phrase that has traveled in and straight out of my ears for years. It never really resonated with me. Honestly, I never thought twice about it. It was a set of words that hung out together in the back of my consciousness, conjuring up images of knitted pink and blue baby booties and early scenes from Lady and the Tramp. It was just an old (yet warm and fuzzy) cliché.

Until recently.

Despite my own personality and the frequent urge to "overachieve" (whatever that means), I’m not the kind of mom who gets too anxious about milestones. Yes, I want to make sure Bryson is developing at a healthy and “normal” rate, but I’m not worried about him being the first to do things. In Gymboree class, other moms would talk about their little ones doing cartwheels at four months old. When my turn came, I was perfectly content offering our honest state of affairs. If B was a bit behind the curve (or even right on time, which some seem to think is behind), I didn’t mind one bit. I knew that the sooner he rolled, sat, ballroom danced, etc., the sooner he’d be going off to college. And I’m in no rush for my baby to grow up, thank you.

He teased me with a roll over at three months, and not again for a couple more. Sitting up began just before seven months. Strategic rolling began in the wide open spaces of Texas. More specifically, Nana and Pop’s living room. Crawling began right around the nine-month mark when we got home from our summer vacation (thanks to his close study of five-month-older twin cousins Aiden and Avery!). Jeremy even captured the first scoot on video:

In no time, Bryson became an expert crawler. No army crawl slithering for him. No siree. He began his mobile days as a traditionalist. Hands and knees all the way. He started pulling up to standing at 10 months, but was plenty happy to surf the couch with a hands-on approach. When his first birthday rolled around and he was clearly quite content to be moving around on all fours, I figured we were still a couple of months away. 

At the start of November, I noticed a move to the hands and feet. Some call it the monkey crawl, some call it the spider crawl. Sometimes it’s forward, sometimes it’s sideways. It’s often fast, and it’s always entertaining. It can also be a bit dangerous at times, leading to his first busted lip. [Note to B and future crawlers: Hands and knees, yes, hands and feet, yes, hands and face, no. Ouchie.]

Once we moved to the hands and feet, I knew we were about to take things to another level. Sure enough, he was soon standing – the final step before the FIRST steps! It was all happening so fast. This solo standing business was a game changer. We knew the first steps would happen soon. The question now was where.

While living in a screensaver is something we definitely appreciate, it comes at a cost. In case you didn’t know, the Hawaiian Islands make up the most isolated island chain in the world. We live an astonishing 4,000 miles away from our family. Even though we feel that this is the right place for us right now, it is tough to be four (or five, when Texas "falls back") time zones away. Bryson doesn’t get to play with all of his cousins for every major (and minor) holiday and weekends like he would if we lived in Texas. We may set world records for FaceTime, but certain moments just aren’t the same in 2D. And so we travel.

Our most recent trip was planned for November 2012, right around Thanksgiving and just a few weeks after this standing business began. What suspense! Might he really take his first steps in TEXAS?!? I mean I know he wasn't born there, but taking the first steps there would be a pretty sweet check in the box for his dual state citizenship. It seemed too good to be true. All of the days and developments of his life were leading up to the biggie, and it seemed that our extended family may get to witness it after all!

In the days leading up to our trip, we spotted a few toddles. The first came unexpectedly while we were in the kitchen. I was at the sink washing dishes, and Jeremy was getting Bryson out of his high chair. He expected him to do the usual squat-and-crawl action, but instead…


(This was similar to the “HE HAS A TOOTH?!” discovery made earlier in the year. I should probably document that one too, but that’s for another day. Back to the steps.)

I witnessed a couple of tentative steps on my own, in the days immediately preceding our trip. He kept practicing while we were in Texas, but the big moment ended up happening in a locale none other than our corner of the Happiest Place on Earth, Walt Disney World Resort.

It was after dinner on November 27 (the birthday of our two newest nieces, no less!), and the whole crew was present and accounted for in Treehouse Villa 7016. We had spent a fun-filled day at the Animal Kingdom. Bryson was sporting his Yeti shirt in support of the infamous hero (villain?) of the Everest ride. The kiddos were playing on the living room floor while we watched from the couches and barstools above. I didn't catch the beginning, but I definitely caught the end after hearing the little ones exclaim, "Bryson just walked!!!"

Sure enough, the little fella had taken about five solid steps toward my oldest nephew Jacob. And everybody got to see it.

Proud big cousin :)
Immediately after, I tried to stage a repeat performance for video. We were all set for take two when suddenly, my nephew Aiden (Jacob’s younger bro, five months Bryson’s senior), charged at Bryson to push him out of the way as if to say, “Excuse me, dude. That’s my big brother, and I've been doing this for a while. Let me show you how this is done.”

It was classic. And as it turned out, I hadn’t pressed “record” after all. Boo! I really think the winnings from that video could've sent them all to college (or at least established Aiden as one to watch for the 2030 NFL Draft).

Despite the obstacles, this little guy hasn’t stopped walking around since. It’s a whole new world! (Disney pun not intended, but I’m not deleting it either, so there.) If he falls down, he gets back up, and I love it. I can already see the golden opps for future life lessons.

I won’t forget the first time I held him by the hand as we walked a few feet from the garage to the living room. What a surreal mom moment. He is just a tiny little person, walking around from point A to point B like he’s been doing it for years (and has downed a few beers…). Amazing.

In the years to come, he will not only walk, but run. He’ll jump. He’ll dunk. He’ll dance. He’ll walk across the stage at graduation. He’ll walk his beautiful (bright, kind, funny) bride down the aisle after they say their vows. And if I play my cards right, he’ll even take his old mom out for a spin on the dance floor at the reception.

This is just the beginning. A few days ago, it really registered with me when I heard him walking before I saw him walking. His tiny feet slapped the tiles of the floor, creating an irregular yet unmistakable cadence as he moved toward me – his mama, his home base.

The essence of that old cliché “pitter-patter of little feet” finally registered with me, and let me tell you.

That pitter-patter is pretty sweet.

P.S.  This post is not related to my business, which is about helping bright entrepreneurs attract their dream clients, one brilliant message at a time. HOWEV - if you like my writing and want help with your own, sign up for free tips at www.nikkielledgebrown.com!

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