I haven’t blogged in a long time, it’s the longest gap I think since I began blogging, over a year ago. 12 months previously I was staring into the unknown that was 2012, wondering would it bring for us and what milestones Mini would pass. One in particular has always fascinated me-when infants learn how to walk. I feel it’s when they really start to leave their baby stage behind and become little people.What are toddlers if they are not toddling around? Of course, children with Down syndrome learn to walk later than their peers as they overcome low muscle tone and work that little bit harder figuring out how to put the basics of movement together.
Early one dismal morning in May, Mini stood up for the first time. By the time it came for our annual summer trip to France in July, she was cruising and walking around by holding our hands. I felt that her first solo walk couldn’t be too far off but the months passed and it never came. She was the ultimate tease-she would promptly stand up, stay there for what seemed an eternity, make to move….and then sink to the ground and reach her destination by crawling. In her mind, it was a case of ‘two legs bad, four legs good.’ Her physio was full of enthusiasm but advised patience-she would walk when she was good and ready.
So I had resigned myself to the the fact that this incredibly exciting milestone would not happen until 2013. But like so many times before, our tough little daughter has surprised me.
On the 12th December, the day we had a big family gathering in Limerick for Christmas, before we headed off to spend the main event with the French famille, Mini took her first steps. It was on top of the bed in my old room. Since then, she has been doing a few sneaky steps, what my mother has christened her ‘secret walking’, where she will happily do the vertical stagger for a pace or two when she is sure no one is looking. Occasionally, with a lot of encouragement, she will forget herself and just go for it.
I managed to capture her on video upright and beaming for a few seconds yesterday. For me, it sums up perfectly the sentiment on the eve of another new year. It’s a time of new beginnings underscored with a feeling of hope. Who knows what the next 12 months will bring-no doubt there will be bumps along the way but as long as we keep moving forward with a smile on our face then we can’t go too far wrong.