February 7, 2012
Teaching your toddler to walk on his own
However, now (at least temporarily) we are living in an apartment. Which means that to go anywhere we have to walk down the hall to the elevator, go down the elevator, and then walk across the parking deck to our car. It's not all that long of a walk unless you are carrying a 30 lb toddler. And also wanting to carry anything else, like say, two lunchboxes, a schoolbag packed with cloth diapers, and a work bag packed with a portfolio, purse, and coffee.
My mother came out to California with us to help us get through the airport, and get settled in our new space. She stayed a week, before we started at our new jobs, but astutely pointed out that surely we wouldn't be carrying M from our apartment to the car, would we? Hubby and I looked at each other like we'd never even thought about it. She took the lead by asking him to walk and offering her hand. This did not go over well with M. He wanted to be held. He pulled out his best terrible-two's tantrum in the hallways and planted himself on the floor, or on the ground in the parking garage and refused to walk with us toward the elevators. Hubby and I were not sure we liked this idea. Clearly he was upset about it, and our first reaction was to pick him up to shut him up and just figure it out later. Though the more we realized what was to come next week (see the note above about all the things to carry) not to mention that we would be doing this one-on-one with him as we took turns taking and picking up from school. And sometimes we would have to be walking a dog, too.
I know it seems obvious and simple. It was never a decision I anticipated, but it does feel like a milestone. This walking thing has really been a huge help. We are still working on holding hands. In the safety of the hallways, I am comfortable keeping him in sight, but in the parking garage, I would really like to hold his hand. He also gets distracted a lot. This can be frustrating if we are in a hurry, or all all loaded down carrying groceries. But on most days we are not in a hurry, and I try to keep in mind that his interest is part of being a child. I should be so lucky to be fascinated by the views of city lights two stories up. Or by the texture of paint or stucco. We do try to curb the interest in other doors that are not our own. His walking can even be its own adventure. If we get tired of being inside, we just go walk the hallways or explore the different amenities around the complex. Its a great tool to get some energy out!
When did you realize that you weren't going to carry your toddler anymore? How did that go over?
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