I Was Smug About My Early Walker

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toddler-walkingMy daughter crawled into the middle of the circle and stood up, her legs bent like a snowboarder’s, her little arms stretched out for balance. A hush fell, followed by gasps. She was the first in the group to stand alone.

The other moms buzzed with excitement. I felt a thrill inside as I watched my delicate daughter bucking both inexperience and gravity to do the miraculous – holding herself upright for a full frozen moment, her plum dress draped softly around her, her bare feet planted on the wooden floor.

Against my own better judgment, trying to stop myself even as I did it, I mentally compared my baby to the others lolling about in their mothers’ laps, wondering if this spelled auspicious things for her future. My elation grew as I pondered the possibilities: Professional dance? Acrobatic jewel heists? The Olympics?

The mom sitting next to me leaned over and whispered, “I wish mine would do that!”

I mumbled something about each baby doing things in her own time, but secretly I felt smug. I tried to dispel the smugness, but the feeling hung on for the rest of the day, surfacing again when I told my husband about what our daughter had done in the baby group, recounting that collective gasp in which an entire roomful of mothers paused for a beat to marvel at our daughter.

I thought my heart would explode when, one golden afternoon just like any other, some inner logic in her body told her to move from the spot where she was standing on the green carpet in the middle of the room toward me. Those few tripping steps felt like a bigger deal than the moon landing. All the air left my lungs and I hugged her, dizzy with the moment: the freshness of it, the fact that it could never happen again, that it had somehow even happened in the first place.

In our baby group, she sat serenely in my lap, hardly deigning to crawl into the middle with the other adventurers now that she had started her biped cruising around the house. I told a couple of the other moms that she’d started walking, but somehow it didn’t seem real until they’d seen it for themselves. A month after she took her first steps, she rose to her feet and wobbled around the group, but the reaction wasn’t as dramatic as it had been when she stood. Someone asked when she had started walking. I relished the reaction when I said nine and a half months, though I acted like it was no big deal.

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  1. aCongaLine

    August 26, 2014 at 11:07 am

    I was smug too… but then my kid *kept* walking. And then I had to chase my kid. 🙂

    • Nica

      August 26, 2014 at 2:11 pm

      LOL – you can’t wait for your first kid to walk and then want your 2nd to hold off on walking as long as possible… Funny how things change!

    • aCongaLine

      August 26, 2014 at 2:16 pm

      ain’t that the truth. ugh. The first one walked, and we were SO excited. The second one walked, and I nearly cried.

  2. Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

    August 26, 2014 at 11:13 am

    I was smug with the first one, who walked at nine months. The second one? I knew better. Once they are mobile, there’s no stopping them…

    • Bleu Cheese Bewbs

      August 26, 2014 at 11:15 am

      My MIL was telling me that when her first started standing up, she was so excited and would encourage him to walk. He was an early walker and she was super proud. By the time she got to the third, my husband, she would sit him back down every time he stood up because she didn’t want him to walk and get into everything.

    • Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

      August 26, 2014 at 11:22 am

      You learn after the first, I think. I remember being so excited when the older started pulling up, and he just trotted out of the room after my husband one afternoon. I was in the room and actually missed it…

      The second? I was perfectly happy for him to chill for a bit. He still walked before a year, because he’s like, “I just don’t give a what, I do what I want”….but I was not nearly as excited by the prospect. 😉

    • Jayamama

      August 26, 2014 at 11:44 am

      I think my second is going to be walking early simply to get away from her sister.

    • Aimee

      August 26, 2014 at 11:19 am

      My daughter, who’s going to turn 9 months tomorrow, is a fiendish cruiser (no freestanding or walking yet, thank goodness). I’m like, “WOULDN’T YOU LIKE TO SIT ON THE FLOOR WITH A TOY LIKE YOUR BROTHER? NO? ARE YOU SURE?” I’m not emotionally prepared to have one walker, let alone two … and neither is the poor dog, haha.

    • Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

      August 26, 2014 at 11:20 am

      Our dog would have some stories for yours, let me tell you.

    • Kat

      August 26, 2014 at 1:48 pm

      There really needs to be some sort of support group for pets. Our 300 year old cat gets the brunt of my son’s love in the form of the baby plowing towards him, then tackling the cat in a hug. And the poor animal just looks at me like, “WTF did I do to deserve this?” while I race over and try to help an 11 month old learn how to “pet gentle.”

    • Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

      August 26, 2014 at 1:50 pm

      They really do. They could help each other understand what these little fleshy things want with them. 😉

    • Bleu Cheese Bewbs

      August 26, 2014 at 11:27 am

      My son is a cruiser as well and has no interest in sitting with a toy or sitting and cuddling with mama, anymore. He is all about using his new skill to get into ALL THE THINGS.

    • keelhaulrose

      August 26, 2014 at 12:01 pm

      Big One was content to sit on her butt for the first eleven months of her life, she didn’t even start crawling til then (she’d do the butt scoot if she wanted to go anywhere). I was seriously worried about how long it was taking her. She was also a great baby who got into practically nothing she wasn’t supposed to.
      Little One could push herself along the wood floors at five months, and as soon as she figured out rolling could get her places she’d be rolling across the floor, and went from that to crawling in about a week. She then proceeded to show us all the things we failed to baby proof, as well as made the world’s biggest messes whenever possible.
      Big One not moving was a blessing. My grandma says God gives people easy first babies to trick them into having a second.

    • Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

      August 26, 2014 at 12:05 pm

      I believe that last line has the ring of truth. 😉

    • shm

      August 26, 2014 at 1:38 pm

      And that last line makes me scared of my next baby. This first one has been so easy (minus the non stop moving, which isn’t that bad because it means he still takes 2 naps at 16 months) I have actually felt guilty at times.

  3. ted3553

    August 26, 2014 at 11:33 am

    It’s totally ok to be a little smug when your kid excels at something before the curve. They’ll be behind on some things and I don’t see the issue with relishing when your child is ahead of things. We’re allowed to be good at something no matter how inconsequential.

    • CrazyFor Kate

      August 26, 2014 at 12:53 pm

      Just as long as you don’t make that clear to other parents. It causes a LOT of hurt feelings, for sure.

    • ted3553

      August 26, 2014 at 1:09 pm

      I don’t mean that she should run around telling everyone and throwing a number 1 finger in the air although that would crack me up

  4. jendra_berri

    August 26, 2014 at 11:40 am

    I was REALLY hoping for an early talker and late walker. I got an early walker and late talker. He’s nearly 17 months old and I’ve been chasing him for nearly seven months now. He learned how to run before he hit a year.
    So much praise from other parents, so much awe. Meanwhile, they all converse at the sandbox while I run after my child to prevent him from killing himself.
    I’m proud of him and stuff but, dude, I’m tired.

    • shm

      August 26, 2014 at 1:05 pm

      I am with you. Mine started at 8.5 months and winy stop moving. Now at 16 months, he is running and jumping. He wont stop moving EVER. He just goes and goes and goes until he drops for a nap. He even wakes up jumping. I am so tired I cant even think straight at the end of the day.

  5. Jayamama

    August 26, 2014 at 11:42 am

    My first hit all her milestones on the early side. She sat up at five months, walked at ten. She got her first teeth also at five months and had a full mouth at a year old. I was secretly proud of her, though I tried not to flaunt it. Then during her second year, she became speech delayed. Even now, at two and a half, she’s really hard to understand for anyone besides family. I’ve gotten the admiration looks around the mom group, and I’ve gotten the pity looks when she goes off on some babble, and it sounds like gibberish. It put me in my place, and gave me a new sympathy for those whose babies hit the milestones a bit late.

    My second is hitting her milestones even earlier than my first. She was crawling at six months, and is standing independently right now at nine months, though no walking. But while I’m cheering her on, I’m not smug anymore. I know it really means nothing. I just want her to be happy and healthy. She’ll have plenty of time later to excel at what really matters.

  6. KaeTay

    August 26, 2014 at 11:58 am

    everyone compares their kid to others. It’s natural and human.. it’s a matter of not vocally doing it that’s important.

    My daughter has done ever milestone early however it’s not come with some bad as well. She talked early, crawled and..walked at 8 months HOWEVER although she talked early it was simple words.. so I’ve had to play guessing games with her to figure out what she wanted while she ran away frustrated that I wasn’t catching on. Luckily she listens well when we are at the park and finally she’s hit that point where she is talking more and more so it’s made things easier…now if only she’d quit eating markers and crayons.

  7. Jessifer

    August 26, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    I have a thirteen month old who has yet to take his first steps and doesn’t look like he’s in a hurry to do it! The minute I try to let go of his hands, he either cries, tries to sit down, or goes limp like a rag doll! I don’t know why I was under the impression that the majority of babies were walking by the age of 13 months. I’ve now talked to many mothers whose children did not walk until 18 months and can now see that it’s totally normal. I know it’s not good to compare, but it makes me feel much better!

    • Personal

      August 26, 2014 at 2:48 pm

      My nephew didn’t walk until 18 months. He just graduated from university. He went on full academic scholarships. Maybe your boy just has other things on his mind, 🙂

    • Jessifer

      August 26, 2014 at 3:25 pm

      Well, he does have the amazing ability of being able to spot any banana within 30 feet of him and yell “Eat! Eat!” as soon as he sees it! I’m not sure that counts as a “talent” but it really should! 🙂

    • Mette

      August 26, 2014 at 3:07 pm

      My oldest son doesn’t do anything before he knows that he can. So he did not walk one step before 14 months. From then on he was completely done with crawling. With my youngest son it was a slow process where he alternated between crawling and walking. At 13 months we decided that he walked more than he crawled.
      Kids are different 🙂

  8. dzymzlzy

    August 26, 2014 at 12:02 pm

    My daughter walked at 9 months and I’m still secretly proud about it. I’m proud of everything she does, so why shouldn’t I be proud of that too? I don’t go around bragging about it, but if it comes up I mention it.

    I have a theory that most kids fall into two categories when it comes to milestones. Some kids are doers and some kids are thinkers. My daughter is a doer. She throws herself headlong into any new activity (often injuring herself in the process) until she masters it. She’s fearless. And for a paranoid mother that’s tough but I’ve learned to stand beside her to help minimize serious injuries and let her figure it out on her own. I have seen other kids who sit back and watch the kids throwing themselves about figuring things out and they learn by watching their mistakes. Kids like my daughter make a lot of mistakes figuring out a new skill. Thinkers just get up and walk nearly perfectly, it’s just a little bit later. Neither one is better than the other.

    • Amanda

      August 26, 2014 at 8:39 pm

      So much this. I was a thinker. My mom said I wouldn’t do anything until I could do it perfect. Took me a while to walk, but I only fell like once. My oldest is the same, youngest is a damn adrenaline junkie and will do, do, do until she gets it.

  9. keelhaulrose

    August 26, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    My first pediatrician, who was a goddess, told me she hates milestone lists because the only time I should worry about them is if baby isn’t doing something at all and its in the stage where that might be indicative of a problem. She didn’t give me a list that said “baby should start babbling between xx and xx month”, she gave me a list that said “if baby isn’t babbling by xx month (always a few months after what online stuff said) talk to me about it. I think that form saved me a lot of stress.

    • ChickenKira

      August 27, 2014 at 10:37 pm

      I got the same list and I think it’s fantastic.

  10. ms. aj

    August 26, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    I was totally smug when my son started walking at 9 months. And by the time he was a year he had over a dozen words. He’s a genius, surely! And then I had my daughter. Born profoundly deaf in both ears and with incompletely formed inner ears that cause balance issues. She received cochlear implants at a year and is in speech therap but at 17 months we are still waiting for her to say first words and take forst steps. And let me yell you, that sure puts things in perpective!

  11. lpag

    August 26, 2014 at 12:47 pm

    My first walked at 15 months. I spent so much time worrying about him and hating all the smug moms whose kids walked at 9 months. He’s 3 now, and watching him run around with other kids, you can’t tell which one walked first. His brother walked at 9 months. I saw it coming, since he was cruising before 8 months, and this time I was praying he’d wouldn’t walk so early, because I just wasn’t ready to deal. Why, oh why, didn’t I ENJOY the time when my big one didn’t need to be chased down??? Also, at 15 months, they have a modicum of cognitive ability to watch where they’re going. Not so at 9 months. Walking infants are scary, man!

    • Nica

      August 26, 2014 at 2:27 pm

      Same here. My niece and my son were born three months apart. My niece was RUNNING at 12 months. My son, on the other hand, didn’t even walk until 15, nearly 16 months. They’re now both 5 years old and pretty much the same in terms of agility and athleticism.

  12. shm

    August 26, 2014 at 12:59 pm

    Mine walked at 8.5 months. It was cool for maybe 2 weeks then it was exhausting. Having a baby that young walking and not understanding the word “no” was beyond exhausting.

  13. Rachel Sea

    August 26, 2014 at 1:51 pm

    My mom swears I walked and ran so early because my sister got her teeth first, and would bite me, so I had incentive to learn to get away.

  14. Blahblah

    August 26, 2014 at 1:51 pm

    Mine at not quite nine months can free stand and cruise and is reaaaaally thinking about walking.

    I was hoping I’d have a kid who liked to sit down. I did not.

    I’m so tired.

  15. Kat

    August 26, 2014 at 1:55 pm

    I think everyone gets something to be a little smug about. My kid slept through the night at 3 months, no sleep training or CIO required. It’s a very rare night that it takes longer than 30 minutes to get him down and 9 times out of 10 he stays down. But he was late to roll, crawl, and pull up. And at 11 months, I’ve only seen him pull all the way up twice, with no free standing or walking in sight. I figure if we hit 18 months with no walking, I’ll start to worry, but until then we’re okay.

  16. Airbones

    August 26, 2014 at 2:00 pm

    Mine was a runner by 11 months. I hated everything about it.

  17. K.

    August 26, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    I think it’s normal to feel smug and to make
    wild predictions of greatness based on the fact your baby walked early or gurgled
    something that sounded like “theory of relativity.” We all do it for the
    dumbest reasons (grew a whole head of hair really quickly! Has a whole mouth of
    teeth by 10 months!) and even when we’ve got no milestones to point to, we
    endear the non-impressive anyway (my baby has no hair but he’s totally cute
    that way! My toddler only has two teeth and it’s adorable how she brushes
    them!). I mean, I was smug about the fact that my son adored crawling and did
    it FOREVER. He walked at 14 months—not late, by paediatrician standards—but later
    than all my friends’ kids, and I wasn’t bothered at all because I was so proud
    of the crawling! Yeah, kids turn people bizarre.

  18. K.C.

    August 26, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    Omg this article is pathetic. Is this what stupid women do all day? Feeling “proud” of something others do. Maybe you should compare who has the least saggage, or who pees the less in their pants when they sneeze LOL. Retarded women are the one’s giving women a bad name.

    • Personal

      August 26, 2014 at 2:50 pm

      ” the one’s ” ?

    • EX

      August 26, 2014 at 10:09 pm

      “who pees the less”?

  19. Jessica

    August 26, 2014 at 2:38 pm

    My daughter just turned 2 and she’s “that kid” that never goes unnoticed and stands out for doing things generally sooner and better than the kids around her. I can’t count the number of times people have said, “Wait, you said she’s only HOW old?” While it’s fun for me to watch her grow and develop the one thing I know for certain is that it’s very likely that around the time she naturally starts to compare herself to others she might still be “ahead”. Then, very very very quickly, everyone around her will be able to do all the “amazing” things she can do. And then some (many?) will do them better. So I think it’s important not to make a big fuss over how “awesome” she is now while she doesn’t grasp what it means, just so as soon as she starts to understand she’s “better” that she can promptly feel bad that she’s some how not “special” anymore once she’s in 1st grade. Kindergarten is pretty early to peak haha. I am using the quotes to denote that while she is all those things to me, because she is mine, the subjective assigning of those labels will tend to disappear as she gets older and knowing her letters and numbers (for example) is expected, not advanced. I am hopeful that she finds pleasure and joy in a number of different activities not dependent on just being better than the people around her. And if she ends up being truly outstanding in something, I hope I can guide her to being a well rounded and kind person as well while she’s on that journey. No one likes an exceptional asshole 🙂

  20. Tina

    August 26, 2014 at 7:02 pm

    Lol oh, the silly things new moms place so much importance on…I don’t mean any disrespect or offence, I am totally aware I’ll probably be the exact same when I eventually have kids, especially because I’m competitive by nature. I’ll totally be the smug mom if it happens to me. I just can’t help thinking it’s so insignificant and downright laughable from the outside looking in, since by the time kids get to kindergarten, all normally developing kids are full-on talkers and walkers anyway and nobody cares or even remembers who walked or talked first, even other parents, as it evens out and has no correlation to future talents or achievements. Like another commenter already said, kids turn people bizarre.

  21. EX

    August 26, 2014 at 10:04 pm

    I can’t help but feel a little smug about my second baby hitting milestones early even though I KNOW I had nothing to do with it since my older daughter didn’t. It’s totally involuntary smugness.

  22. Katherine Handcock

    August 26, 2014 at 10:21 pm

    My youngest was an early walker, but since I’d had experience with one child walking at a typical age, my immediate reaction was more, “Oh, heaven help me. Someone push her down!” It’s exciting, sure, but then you realize just how much more they can reach when they’re vertical 🙂

    I also wrestle with timing of milestones, but try really hard to remember that it doesn’t really matter if they hit them early. And really, the only reason it matters if they hit them late is if there is something stopping them that could be addressed with help. But man, it’s hard to remember that sometimes!

  23. ChickenKira

    August 27, 2014 at 10:39 pm

    As my mother says “You started walking at 9 months, your brother didn’t take his first steps until 16 months. At ages 25 and 21, can you tell any difference in walking ability?”

    Actually, I argue yes we can, his legs are much longer than mine, so he takes bigger steps, while I waddle behind on my short-person stumpy legs, so hey, one could argue that as adults, he is the better walker.

  24. Liberty

    September 1, 2014 at 12:06 am

    I think part of the reason there are so many “special snowflakes” is because parents these days think everything their children do makes them extraordinary. Kids develop at different rates and let’s be honest, most people are not extraordinarily brilliant. Your little kid saying a few words earlier than you’d expect or recognizing something does not make her the next Shakespeare, unless she’s reciting Shakespeare from age 3. I just wish parents would stop treating their kids like Shakespeare because it doesn’t help them later in life when they come up against something which they are actually not talented at.

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