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Walk this way


Diary of a First Time Dad
Edwin McGreal

Frankie had her first birthday party two days before her actual birthday, so we said in order to make a bit of a fuss of the birthday itself, Tuesday, November 21, we’d leave opening the presents until that day.
Little did we think one of those presents would cause the day to be a double milestone.
My mother’s present of a hobby horse had Frankie fascinated. When Aisling held it out towards her a couple of feet away, Frankie decided instead that of sitting down and crawling, she would walk towards it.
Her very first unassisted steps on her first birthday!
I say unassisted, because she had been building up quite the gallop in recent weeks once she had a hold of something, be it the couch or the presses in the kitchen. It was just a matter of time before she went solo.
Typically, I was on the road home when it happened, so to Aisling went the joy of seeing those first steps. Thankfully, later that evening she repeated the trick.
She didn’t walk far – about a yard I reckon – but it is true what they say about the first step being the hardest in most walks of life, pardon the pun.
I don’t think Frankie realised she was doing something new. She was just concentrating on trying to get her hands on the pink fluffy thing that was getting no closer despite her forward progress. Aisling eventually stopped moving and let Frankie have her quarry.
And since then she’s been revelling in her new-found independence, getting more confident with each passing day. She is in the middle of mastering multi-directional turns this week.
Thankfully there haven’t been too many falls either, but then Frankie is being very careful with her steps. She’s the equivalent of being stuck behind a Sunday driver in a Micra: very cautious.
When she’s on the move, she has an arm out for balance, ready for the fall that she’s afraid will come. It doesn’t always happen, but better safe than sorry, eh? The less eruptions of tears from a heavy fall, the better for us.
But once she has turned one year old, and once she starts to walk, she’s out of the baby stage and very much a toddler.
In the run up to her birthday I was thinking Frankie might take be walking before her first birthday. It would be quite the boast for her – and for us! But taking her first steps on the birthday was better still. A great sight to witness.
There’s no stopping her now.

In his fortnightly column, first-time-father Edwin McGreal  charts the ups and downs of the biggest wake-up call of his life: parenthood.