Literally...Bear finally took a few steps! Three, to be exact! We were standing in a friend's driveway yesterday and I wanted to show my friend how long Bear could stand up without falling. He'd been getting better and better at it and I was a proud momma. Every time I went to stand him up, though, he'd make me look like a liar. He would fall into the driveway, acting as if he'd never stood up in his life, so I finally gave up. We kept standing there talking and Bear started whining like he wanted something. I handed him his water cup and he pulled up on my leg to get it from me. I unclenched his fist from my pants and he stood up and drank his water! I got my friend's attention to show her, and just as she was turning to look, Bear dropped his cup and walked toward a toy shopping cart!! Everyone in the driveway (us and 3 or 4 other moms) started cheering for Bear! He just started walking along with the cart like he'd done nothing unusual. Later in the day, we were playing outside and he was standing at his sand and water table, playing with boats. His bike was a few steps away, so when he turned around, he walked right over to his bike and started pushing it. If I had to guess, I'd say that he's very close to walking at this point. However, Max and I have been thinking that for several months, so I can't be too sure. The other clue that's leading me to think he's about ready is that he refuses to hold both of my hands when I'm helping him walk. He'll push one hand away so that he's only holding one of my hands while he walks along. I've heard from several other moms that this is a big step. Keep your fingers crossed for us!
If he is indeed walking soon, I'm sure Bear will get more independent than he already is. I can tell he's frustrated lately at needing help for all kinds of stuff. I think it's just typical toddler behavior. It seems as if he's thinking, I don't want your help. Don't help me. And then when I don't help him, he seems to be thinking, Why won't you help me? I need help, dummy! He'll do things like yank the spoon out of my hand when I try to feed him and then cry when he can't pick up certain foods with it by himself. When I try to guide his hand to the food with the spoon, he'll get all frustrated and start waving his hands around, sometimes throwing food around the kitchen. When he realizes he needs my assistance or he won't get any corn (or whatever it is that he wants), he gives in and lets me help. This is an almost everyday occurrence at this point, though. I wonder if he'll eventually let me help him without a fight or if he'll just learn to feed himself? He has similar reactions when he wants an object that is stuck in a drawer/cabinet/box or when he runs one of his walker-type toys into a wall. He'll get angry when I try to help, so I let him try by himself for a bit. Sometimes he'll figure it out by himself, but more often than not, he'll get REALLY frustrated, so I'll go help him. I suppose it's just something to be worked through and a test of my patience!
He has two current loves right now: steering wheels and toys with little buttons that make noise when they are pushed. The steering wheels that he loves are at the parks that we frequent. He'll climb up the playground equipment to get to one and he'll just steer it and smile for a long while. I make it a point to show him whenever I see a steering wheel, since he seems to love them so much! I set him on my lap in the car (when it's off, of course) and let him practice "driving", which he also seems to enjoy quite a bit. He loves ride-on toys that have steering wheels, too. He'll sit on them and pretend to drive for longer than he actually moves the toy around! Grandma and Grandad J. just sent him a steering wheel that we're going to attach to a fencepost in the backyard, but he's been happy just holding it in his lap up until this point! As far as toys with buttons go, he's just recently gotten very good at using his index finger to push buttons. He helps to open the garage door by pressing the button and we play Fisher Price computer games that require no more than just the push of a button for a fun Peek-a-Boo game. Sadly, he also loves things like remote controls and cell phones with all their little buttons. I've lost count of the number of meltdowns that have happened because I took away something that I don't want him to play with. We got him a toy cell phone and that seemed to help a little. I can deal with the annoying songs it plays if it keeps him from ruining our things!
All of this independence from Bear reminds me of something that I think of nearly every day--he's really becoming a little boy! I thought I'd be sadder about this, but I'm not actually very sad at all. I want him to experience so much and there are things that a baby just cannot do. Before I had a kid, whenever I envisioned myself with a child, I imagined fun things like trips to the zoo or children's museums. Those things just aren't that fun for Bear yet, but I think once he can walk, they will be more enjoyable. There's a zoo here that we visited a few months ago, but it had no more impact on Bear than a walk through the neighborhood would have. He rode in his stroller while I looked at the animals. I enjoyed it, but I want him to enjoy it, too! There is no children's museum here yet, but there's one near Grandma H.'s house that I'd love to take him to once he's an advanced walker. I'm probably a little better with little kids than I am with babies, anyhow. I think I was good momma when he was tiny, too, but I think I'll be better the older he gets. Whenever Bear reaches a new phase of his short little life, I feel a surge of love for him that I didn't feel before. This has been happening ever since he was born and I find myself wondering if this will happen all throughout his life or if the love will stop growing at some point. I imagine it will have to taper off at some time, otherwise I'll explode! Or Bear will from me hugging him so much!