How My Son Really Started Walking

Jose Vilson Jose

It’s obvious he does things his way.

When he first came out of the womb, he yelled at the nurses in the hospital for making reference to Lady Gaga’s version of his name. When in the nursing station, he slept on his side whereas everyone else slept on their back. During my first few hours with him, he pooped, peed, and spit up on me, the holy daddy trifecta. He didn’t care much for my swaddles, no matter how tight I wrapped him.

So it should come at no surprise that he didn’t want to follow the axiom: “You gotta learn to crawl before you learn to walk.”

First came the rolling around to get from point A to point B, and not even in a straight line. It looked more like roll once, turn around, roll again, turn around, repeat until he arrived at his destination. A little inefficient, but it got the job done. After getting his playpen, he discovered the art of cruising: with one hand, he’d guide himself around the rim, picking up his toys along the way.

All of us, especially his babysitter, already said he’d skip right into walking so we didn’t need to teach him how to crawl.

That wasn’t far from the truth, either. In two months, he went from running around in his walker (why do people keep saying that a walker’s bad for babies?) to gliding his hands against walls to get from the living room to the bedroom. I’d just marvel at how quickly he learned the art of balancing himself with one hand.

That is, until he started touching my flatscreen. Don’t touch the screen, son. That’s about a year’s worth of pampers.

With only a few weeks left until his first birthday, we decided to sit down with him one day and just let him step to us. We already saw him play with the idea of walking, shuffling his feet with his outstretched arms, but that wasn’t walking. Real walking meant he’d lift his Peanuts sneakers up an inch and forward a few more.

Last week, on my way back from work, I said, “Let’s do it.” I walked in the door, grabbed my son, and put him on his feet about an arms’ length from me. He waves his arms a bit, looked up at me with his cherubic face, and said, “Da!” I stretched my arms out, close enough to catch him, wide enough to let him do it on his own. With each step, his breathing grew harder, more excited. He went from a serious focus to an elated laughter. In about five steps, he dropped right into my arms.

The babysitter, Luz’s mom, and I all cheered. “YAY, Ale!” We couldn’t believe it. I replicated it a few more times, and even made him walk towards the women in the room, who all clapped and yelled for him to come their way. We called Luz, who rushed home to see the commotion, and she joined in the fun a few moments later.

Before we put him to bed, I said, “OK, one more time.” This time, he fell. Not too hard, but not close enough to anything to pick himself up.

So he crawled. Luz and I looked at each other and said, “NOOOO …”

Jose, who just had to share this.