W Walked A Quarter-Mile Today!

Whoooo! My little 19-month-old baby walked 1/4 mile all by himself today. And this wasn't on the track, either. He walked 1/4 mile uphill over gravel. And although he had a close call where he wandered too close to the edge and some briers grabbed his jacket, he managed to stay in the driveway the whole time. I think the close call with the briers motivated him to stay in the dead center of the driveway the rest of the way up. This is good, since there is probably also poison ivy on the sides. The thorny shrubs are easier to spot, and I'm hopeful he's learned his lesson and won't actually have to suffer a scratch to stay away from them.

I pushed him up the driveway hill (and also up the hill on our road) this morning. I've been doing a 1-mile walk every morning we don't have an activity in town. W necessarily stays in the stroller since we're both in our pajamas for this walk, and he's not wearing shoes.

But I prefer a longer walk in the afternoons, but it would really wear me down to have to push him up that hill again if I already made the trip in the morning. So I tried getting him to walk up the hill as an experiment today. T has never gotten him to go more than halfway before.

That is surely because T caved in and picked up his son when W asked for help. W knew better than to sign for me to pick him up (I rarely carry him more than a few feet at a time anymore), but about halfway up the hill he was gesturing towards the stroller. I told him he could get in the stroller when we got to the mailbox. He wasn't going to give up that easily. He looked to me like he was going to try to climb into the stroller without my help when we were standing there, so I started walking again before he could get his leg up. He held my hand (trying to slow me down, I think) and tried to grab onto the stroller while we were walking, but I just pushed it ahead of us. So the faster he (and I, since he was holding my hand) walked toward the stroller, the faster it went ahead of us. After a dozen yards he figured out he wasn't going to catch the stroller so he let go of my hand.

Then I continued to walk ahead and he stopped. I looked back, and it seemed that he was deciding what to do. I think we were far enough along at that point that he probably couldn't see the house anymore, but he could see me ahead up the driveway. I told him again, that he could get in the stroller when we reached the mailbox. When I got to the mailbox myself, I stopped, and turned the stroller around so he could see that I meant it. At that point, he got his second wind and ran the rest of the way up the driveway! I was very proud of him. I wasn't sure that he would be able to make it on his own. If he would've cried, I would've picked him up and let him ride. But he soldiered on, so I encouraged him.

He was particularly tired tonight, though. I had to feed him dinner early (I started cooking it as soon as we got back home from our walk, which probably lasted about an hour since we went 2.5 miles total) and get him right to bed. I'll monitor how he seems to feel tomorrow. I don't want to overstress his little body, but if he could walk up the hill for our 2nd walk of the day, it would certainly be easier on me. And it would make him strong, right? I'll be watching tomorrow to see if his legs seem tired, if he's tripping at all, or sitting down instead of standing, etc. I don't think I'll try to get him to walk that hill two days in a row, but maybe I'll try again on Friday or Saturday. I'm pretty psyched about this development.

My gut says if it was too much for him to handle, he'd have stopped walking and started crying. Surely little toddlers in the developing world walk 1/4 mile all the time? That the toddlers here have just gone all soft being carted around in their little upholstered car seats and luxury strollers all the time? If I'm wrong, I'm sure I'll pay for it tomorrow in the form of a whiny, irritable toddler with sore muscles.