Well, I think we can finally say Jacob is walking! Not well, not far, but he's finally starting to do it on his own. Up until the last couple days, he'd ony go a couple steps at a time, aside from a few isolated incidents where he wasn't thinking about it and took a bunch in a row. And he'd only do it if we were standing at his destination, cheering him on. But any other time, without our encouragement, he'd immediately drop into a crawl. Over the last couple days, however, he's started taking steps on his own. They're pretty shaky and slow, but they are steps nonetheless. He's gradually getting better at walking while holding a hand, too. And his increased ability to stand up sturdily is coming in quite handy when we're coming to and leaving daycare and I need to take off my shoes to go in his room or put his jacket on him. It's nice to have free hands for a change!
I find it funny that crawling was almost instantaneous....that once he got it, he very quickly integrated it into his daily life. But walking has been much different. It's been a much slower process with a lot of little steps (no pun intended) in between. It's taken a lot of practice and a lot of encouragement to get where we are now. I think he'll get really good at it really quickly, because he's older and should have some additional balance and dexterity that younger walkers might not have yet. So with any luck, he'll be running around within a week or two! In the meantime, I am totally freaked out about him getting hurt (like, seriously hurt...not just bumps and scratches) because he doesn't have great balance yet and tends to get ahead of himself, so it's already led to some fantastic falls. I'm just worried about him falling on a hard floor or landing on the edges of furniture. Scary stuff.
Interestingly, I've gained a new perspective on the walking thing a bit in the last couple days. I realized that we as adults don't often have to struggle to learn something. Our lives are pretty well set once we're out of school, and only when we tackle a new hobby or, as in my case, a new task at work, do we really get back to that struggle we all had as kids to learn things. Whether it was crawling, walking, reading, long division, or sports, I think at one point or another we probably spent some time on the verge of tears just trying to figure something out for the first time. And I really think that as adults there are few things in the learning realm that really bring us to that point. So while sometimes I can't understand why Jacob isn't more motivated to walk like the kids at daycare, I guess to some degree I do get it. It's hard, and while we want to tackle the challenge head-on, it's not easy and sometimes it takes a lot of small steps to get us to a point where we're comfortable enough to jump in head-first. The last couple days I've been struggling with a project at work. I've had to do a lot of things in Microsoft Excel that I've never done before. The project I'm doing is actually far beyond my current Excel abilities, but with a little help and lots of trips to the help menu, I'm slowly getting there. It's been neat to learn new things, but there have been moments where I'm overwhelmed by the complexity of it all and am sure I'll never figure it out. And while I want to just dive in and make it work, I'm too afraid of getting ahead of myself, spending an hour trying to do something, and find out that it was wrong and I just wasted a lot of time and energy on nothing. So I've chipped away at it, bit by bit, for two days. And I think I've almost cracked it, finally. It's been a mental challenge, and that's just not something I'm used to these days. Work is hard, and being a mom is hard, but actually having to learn something completely new all at once? Yikes. And so, I suppose, that's how it goes with Jacob as well. While I'm sure he'd like to walk, it's probably a scary and difficult prospect. It's something totally new and very difficult. And I'm sure that's why it's taken so long for him to get to this point--lots of fear and not a lot of motivation, and as a result, lots of little baby steps to get him to a point where he's comfortable enough to really jump in and do it all the time. And soon I'm sure he will. It's fun to watch and cheer in the meantime, though :)