We've been waiting for the moment so long that I almost missed it once it came. That's how casual the bun was about it. One minute he's standing there behind his wagon, the next he's walking with staggering confidence over to the coffee table to grab a nice shiny bag of cat snacks. And then it was over. He had walked.*
I stood there pondering what I had just witnessed. We've been joking about it for weeks, making up exceptions and rules for what constituted an actual "walk." Two steps with only one parent present wasn't a walk: a "walk" had to be more than four steps, and falling down didn't count as the last step.
This was definitely a walk. But he wasn't doing it for me, which, you know, surprised me. When you think of "the first walk," you imagine that your tot will make those first tentative steps towards you or your partner with wide open arms and a wavering confidence, collapsing in a heap in the warm embrace of an absurdly proud parent. But this kid just meandered off from Point A to Point B, with no by-your-leave.
Apparently cat snacks were enough to push him that extra mile.
Anyway, I sat there thinking about it for a second before I called my husband. I mean, he wasn't here for it, right? And he would be leaving work scant minutes after the bun's maiden voyage; that just didn't seem fair. But on the other hand, it's not like I could keep this a secret, right? He walked.
I called him. He said, "I missed it."
I said, "I'm pretty sure he'll do it again." If I've ever cast a safe bet, this was it. It wasn't as though there was going to be only the one walk. Or at least we hoped.
When he came home, I faithfully re-enacted the bun's stroll. It wasn't the same, but it was the best I could do under the circumstances. My husband wistfully smiled and nodded.
As I was giving the post-game analysis (reviewing that it was not me but kitty kibble that received the gift of primary momentum), the bun pulled himself up on my legs, turned, and with his arms open wide and a huge grin on his face, he stumbled into his father's warm embrace. There was laughter, there were tears. There was much joy.
The cat snacks were merely a prelude. It was like the dress rehearsal before the opening act, and he couldn't show off his chops yet in front of everyone. I understand. A maestro such as himself has to get it just right before the show can go on.
*In terms of major events, this has been a helluva week. The bun seems to be firing all the synapses at once, and he's picking up new skills like mad. While the walking clearly takes precedence, because our lives are officially over now, he's also making signs to us about a few different things. The lights go on, he makes the sign for "light;" I hold up a snake, he flicks his tongue in and out like a reptile; I show him a frog, and he puffs his cheeks out. It's unbelievable.
I was suspicious about the baby-signing thing, and the public embarrassment of making overt ridiculous gestures to an infant sometimes made me a little sheepish, but now that the bun can sign back, months of embarrassment seem worth it.
Thankfully, his father still hasn't gotten him to make the boob-signs yet: there has been neither "Gadoooo-ga" nor "Ding Ding Ding Ding" yet. We shall see.