Bear started walking at 11 months and has become more stable and agile since then. He didn't naturally embrace the independence this mobility offered him in the way I expected him to. I think being quite cautious and anxious he was intimidated by the suddenly larger world he had access to. He was happy to be carried around and still is.
This really didn't bother me until recently. He's petit so he's no trouble to carry. I love his cuddles and he's extra sweet and clingy when he wants to be held. I'd made a few half-hearted attempts to encourage him to walk for himself but it never stuck. The tantrums put me off and it's so much easier to keep him safe when he's in my arms. It's also much quicker to get where we need to go and to get things done!
As with the floor-bed the time has come!
(Poor Bear - he's fallen victim to his mother's whims! I've been re-reading Montessori from the start over our holidays and the time off has really renewed my convictions and resolve. That together with new energy from well management blood sugar levels and some serious nesting instincts with the pregnancy... Bear's being swept along a wild ride!)
Bear is a very good walker. He's stable and has good stamina. His language is good enough that he can understand instructions like "stay on the path" and "hold my hand". I'm getting pregnant enough that carrying him is getting uncomfortable. I was also (as with moving out of the cot) anxious to make this adjustment well before the baby arrives.
Teaching Bear that he needed to walk for himself was one of the hardest things we've done as parents! It definitely took planning and a determined, coordinated approach. I wonder if it would have been different if we did start as soon as he started walking? The first day was the hardest. Bear had big, frequent, intense tantrums. Everything seemed to take so long. I felt like the worst person in the world if anyone walked past. He still looks so little and he sure can look pitiful.
This quote kept coming to mind:
"This independence in the child is not to help make life easier for the adult. In fact at least initially helping children to establish independence requires a great deal of effort and thought on the adult's part. Montessori encourages us to go to this trouble for children so that they will experience the confidence that comes from not having to wait for someone else to do what is needed. It is not to help adults then that we help children to become independent in daily acts; it is to help children."
Thankfully he adjusted really quickly and he absolutely just accepts that he walks for himself now. I think it was as soon as the third day that the tantrums stopped. It felt like a lifetime at the time. He has accepted that when I tell him to hold my hand he must hold my hand. So I can still keep him safe. He's learned the rules like staying away from the road and waiting for me at the top of stairs.
I'm amazed at what his little legs are capable of. I love the way he walks confidently into new places holding my hand. He is able to walk from the library to the car carrying a book he's chosen for himself. I love that he has this independence now. It has changed the way he thinks about himself - he is a capable person who can do things for himself. It was worth the trouble.
My name is Vicky I am wife to Ranger and mum to two boys - Bear (2) and Fox (8 months). Somehow I stumbled across Montessori and now my goal is to raise and educate my children with a Montessori philosophy in country NSW Australia.