Just four days before my mentally imposed deadline to begin serious worry, Mr. Baby pulled himself up to standing and walked across the room. Just like that. Just like we suspected he could all this time. I knew he'd been practicing at daycare, and he's slipped in a couple surreptitious steps over the last week or two, but this was the first time I saw him just get up and walk away. Seeing him from that distance, on his own two feet, was a huge relief and a minor heartbreak. I know people say to be wary of mobility, but in this case, I'm just so happy that he has independent movement again. He was such a content baby when he was crawling and able to go where he wanted to go. But then once he started walking with assistance, he was so completely over crawling that his only acceptable form of locomotion involved an adult's pinky finger and bent lower back. And lately, only my pinky would do.
And so yes, mostly relief as I saw that fuzzy little head from the back, those tiny feet making assured contact, that gravity-focusing belly correcting his balance. But of course, I also felt the pangs of panic and sentimentality that strike at every milestone, the sudden awareness that this time is gone and the next will be sweeping past even more quickly. I was so elated to see him upright, but also had the desire to scoop him up in my arms and tell him, "Okay, but you're still my baby."
We celebrated this newfound skill and independence by continuing this week's other goal: night-weaning. It felt like a cruel reward, really. "Nice job, kid, now you're on your own!" And he accepted it with all the grace of, well, a petulant toddler. I consider myself patient and able to withstand discomfort for a longer than average amount of time, but even I was about to cave in to his three-hour marathon of full force screams. The only thing that prevented my collapse was the constant reminder that a couple nights of crying (safely in my arms, with all other comforts attempted) is worth the reprieve from weeks on end of sleepless nurse-a-thon nights. So I withstood the hollering, and the writhing, and the sippy cups thrown at my head, and finally, begrudgingly, he fell asleep. And stayed that way until dawn, when he nursed, got up, and walked into his next big day.