‘Am I a lazy parent?’
This week my daughter finally put the "toddle" in toddler. After threatening to walk for some time - with a step there, a stumble here - she just got up one day and wandered from the front door to the kitchen.
Naturally, I was chatting on a WhatsApp video call to a friend in London and almost missed it. Parent of the Year, here.
It is standard for babies to start walking at about 12 months. My daughter is nearly one-and-a-half and took a bit longer to find her feet. Is that my bad? While others in my mother's group were encouraging their kids to get up and moving, I was happy with the status quo. For months, a mat and a few measly wooden blocks would provide us with hours of entertainment. Life was a breeze.
I wouldn't say I actively discouraged it but I wasn't exactly willing her to walk. I was a little daunted by the taunts from other parents: "Get your running shoes on", "Now the real fun begins", "Life will never be the same". Am I a lazy parent to admit that a small level of containment was convenient?
As of this week, Molly's horizons have broadened and I'm buggered. No longer satisfied with the copious number of toys at her disposal, she has her sights set on our power points, drawers full of precious crockery and the blade of the mixer. She has exposed every dangerous item in our household that I had up until now naively resisted child-proofing.
The boundaries around personal space have also suddenly shifted. After nearly a year and a half of motherhood, I'd become used to leaving the bathroom door open and was committed fully to a cold coffee each morning, but we are in another arena entirely now. Mid-shower yesterday, Molly sauntered in with a bubble-blowing wand so I could continue with the 24/7 entertainment while simultaneously trying to get out the door. What a joy.
On the flip side, my commitment to activewear is finally paying off. We've scoped out the best parks and indoor playgrounds within cooee of home and, when that fails, it's up the stairs, down the stairs. Jane Fonda, eat your heart out.
It's an exhausting but exciting next stage. More than smiling and crawling, this feels like a major life milestone for her and a parenting high five for us. She did it. We did it. Now what? One small step for baby, one giant leap for Mum and Dad. Slow down, little lady. We are struggling to keep up.
Originally published as Eddie B: 'Am I a lazy parent?'