I wrote a blog a little while ago talking about how Ivy was well and truly a baby on the move. When I posted it, I got a few excited texts and messages asking if she was walking. I think I oversold the situation, Ivy was certainly well and truly taking her literal first steps to walking, but it was a combination of a few steps and then her hybrid crawl and foot drag she’d mastered. But she really was on the move.
A baby’s first steps are always a milestone that every parent thinks of, and you want to make sure you are there for the very moment it happens. For the first few steps, I can confidently say we were around and in the run up to our wedding we were convinced Ivy might actually make it down the aisle with the bridesmaids, almost unassisted, albeit looking like a miniature bridesmaid that had found the bar before the ceremony and staggered down the aisle in that drunken style newly mobile babies do. Ivy decided to delay the process by a few days and almost as if by magic when the plane wheels touched down at our honeymoon destination, the WhatsApp’s came in from nanny and grandad at home to show Ivy not only walking laps around the kitchen, but doing so pushing a mop (I think she might have been rubbing in the fact we missed the big moment).
As we got excited for the new skill Ivy had picked up, it then dawned on us that we’d better rethink the set up of the house; what cupboards can she get in, what can she reach, what do we need to lock? The answers to all of those questions? Pretty much everything. But it’s not all bubble wrap, anti theft paint and chained doors like I first thought it would be, in fact not at all. Here are some of the things I’ve found since having a fully mobile ankle biter in the house:
The house doesn’t have to be Fort Knox
The general rule of thumb with a young child is don’t leave them alone, or at least keep a very watchful eye (shocking, I know!). Until they’re 18 of course then you take them to an opening in the woods and let them run free, or so I’m told. But generally, the more mobile Ivy has got, the less we can turn our back and leave her alone. So when it came to putting locks on every cupboard and chaining things shut, we realised it just became wholly unnecessary. The cleaning cupboard is off limits (unless she decides to offer to clean the bathroom), the cupboards she can get in are harmless, and unless she wants to attempt anything drastic with a plastic mixing bowl we’re ok. So for now, the internal CCTV system and 24 hour security will be put on hold, we’ll just pay attention.
Falling over is inevitable… catching them is not
For the very first wobbly steps you’re never further than arms reach away, whilst shouting encouraging words in such a high pitch that the dog is starting to get pissed off. But when the inevitable jelly legs kick in, you’re there to catch them as they take a tumble. Fast forward to when they’re confidently roaming around the kitchen then you hear the slap of their palms on the kitchen floor as they’ve got ahead of themselves, you await the tears but they never seem to come. Babies are really made of tough stuff, obviously if I see Ivy falling I don’t turn around as if to say “she’ll learn”, but in the case she does fall, it’s a case of ‘oopsy daisy’ and she moves on.
Get used to being ignored
The words ‘no’, ‘don’t touch’, ‘ah ah ah’, ‘not over there’ and everything of that nature, whilst well intended, will almost always fall on deaf ears. That’s not to say you should give up and not bother having rules in the house. But it takes work and persistence to prevent little legs from walking to areas of the house they shouldn’t.
The shoes and don’ts
Meg got very excited by Ivy walking as it meant the small selection of shoes we had could actually be put to use. However on the first run out (there’s no nice way of putting it) Ivy walked like a dog that had shoes put on (see video for evidence). For months Ivy was basically in socks, so these clunky foot prisons with straps were coming off at any opportunity, usually when sat in the back of the car out of reach of mum and dad. I’m not big on baby fashion, but it’s clear that the “cooler” shoes definitely are style over substance. So I reluctantly have to say, don’t go running out the door to get converse, Nike’s or vans. The trusty Clark’s do the job.. and let’s face it, they grow out of them straight away anyway.
Take the reins
This one’s not so applicable for in the home, although the more we use them I’m starting to see their benefit anywhere. Allow me to introduce you to the baby reins. They save your back from bending over and you can rein in your little one when they’re heading in a direction you don’t want to (which happens a lot), decide to try and pick something horrendous off the floor, or give them a nudge during the infamous “I’m not moving” moments. They may look like something customised for a small dog but they’re really useful.
It’s clear now that you don’t have to smother the house in bubble wrap, or cover your baby head to toe for that matter. All you have to do is keep a watchful eye, and accept that tumbles are all part of growing up. How have you found life with a mobile baby? I’d love to hear!