It goes without saying that we're all proud of our kids, not just because they're clearly math whizzes/Pulitzer Prize winners/CEOs/cancer-curing doctors in the making, but because, well, they're ours. But when your little baby suddenly becomes a capable little toddler, you start to see glimpses of who he will be, peeks at his character, this budding person-of-the-world. You get to witness these really telling moments, little acts of kindness or bravery that make your heart swell with pride, bring weepy, happy tears to your eyes. They're the moments you want to video and share with your friends and family. Oh never mind, you just put them up on Facebook because, hell yeah, you think everyone needs to know.
A couple of weeks ago, my 14-month-old twin boys started walking, and while I was obviously proud of those first steps, I was even more proud of the steps they took to get there.
My guys have been on the late side of average when it came to rolling over and crawling. So, I sort of assumed the walking wouldn't happen for awhile either. And with twins, I wasn't in a rush! But then, out of nowhere, after having taken a couple of steps here, maybe another couple steps there, one of my boys just started walking -- like right across the room. And man, was I proud, so proud. Still, that didn't impress me nearly as much as what came next. For days after, he was determined to get this walking thing right. Falling down and getting right back up, plowing into the wall and then shaking it off and jumping right back to it. He was so determined, so brave, so confident. "That's my boy," I kept thinking. "That's my boy."
And then, it was my other son's turn. He saw his brother toddling all over the place and, damnit, he was going to do it too. The poor thing wasn't quite ready, you could tell, but he didn't care. For an entire week after my one son started walking, the other just would not give up. He'd take a step or two and then dive head-first into my arms. Or, he'd take a step or two when he thought no one was looking, then bam, hit the floor hard. He's a very sensitive little guy, quick to cry and melt down at any small frustration. But no, with this walking thing, he barely shed a tear. He just kept bouncing back up and trying again, bouncing back up and trying again. That bounce-back with him, that's what made me proud.
Look, I know everyone's baby walks at some point and likely are as determined as my sons. My guys, though totally amazing to me, aren't remarkable. But they're mine and watching them learn how to walk, and then perfect it, has been a true joy. Maybe it's because they've tackled this walking thing the way I would want them to. I've always said I want my children to be brave and confident, eager to explore the world, not afraid of it. Who knows if that's who they will be or not, but their confidence and determination in the last few weeks makes me think they're on the right track.
I've seen other parents have these proud moments and watched their faces light up when their sweet toddler reaches out to share his toy with another, says a new word, or even does something terrifying like figure out how to open drawers so he can stand on top of the dresser. A friend of mine recently told me a story about how her 1-year-old son, on his first trip to the beach, was scared of the ocean, burying his face in her chest to hide from the sights and sounds of the crashing waves. Then, after sitting and watching the water for a little, seeing his brother enjoying it, he took his Mom's hand and walked her down to the shore with him, as if to say, "Okay, Mama, let's do this." Already, a little man brave enough to overcome his fears.
One day, our toddlers will be big kids, getting their first A in school, kicking their first soccer goal, singing in their first recital. We'll watch them comfort a crying friend, bravely walk into their kindergarten class, crayon a picture that could definitely rival a Picasso. We have a lifetime of these proud moments ahead of us, but they start with the small kindnesses and small victories of their toddlerhood.
What has been your proudest moment with your toddler so far?