W Takes Off His Shoes & Climbs Stairs

W has reached another milestone in self-sufficiency; he can take off his shoes without assistance. He's been working toward this for several weeks now. The velcro on the straps is pretty strong, so the first thing he had to do was master was the strength and coordination to undo the straps.

Once he was able to loosen the straps, we had to work on getting the shoes off his feet. He now sits on the bottom stair when we get home, and has finally learned to grasp the shoe by the heel to get his foot out. And when he's done, he places his shoes on the mat by the door where we keep all our shoes.

He's also decided that he's capable of walking up the stairs instead of crawling. He started off by holding the newels on the bottom half of the stairs, and then holding on the stairs for the upper half of the stairs where there are no newels and the handrail is too high for him to reach. This was fine, he seemed pretty stable.

But now he doesn't want to lean over at all to put his hands on the next stair, even while he can't reach the handrail. Instead, he just holds onto the wall for stability. The problem, is that there's nothing to really hold on to, so he's far less stable than he apparently thinks he is. I'm not really doing anything to discourage this progress, however, except reminding him that it's safer to hold onto the stair until he can reach the handrail. He'll probably be tall enough in a few months, if not sooner. He can reach it already if he stretches, but then the stretch required to safely hold the rail ironically makes it more hazardous for him to keep his own balance as he ascends, so I'm not emphasizing that technique for him, either.

Going down is more of a problem, though. He usually goes down backwards. Sometimes the whole way, often just until he's at the bottom half and can reach the newels. But a few days ago I guess he tried that coming downstairs while he was carrying something, and wound up falling down the last few stairs. Much crying ensued, but he was fine, I didn't even find a bruise anywhere. Neither T nor I saw exactly what happened, but he wound up on the floor clutching some pajamas in his hand, so we surmised that he wasn't holding onto the newels sufficiently. We reminded him of the safe way to descend the stairs, and if we're with him we always offer to carry his things up or down for him. But hopefully his little tumble was traumatic enough that he'll remember that it's a bad idea to try to walk down the stairs yet. Hard to say, I've heard that toddlers have extremely short memories.