Slowly, with his feet wide apart and arms outstretched, my little boy can walk. And with every careful, purposeful step, he is walking away from being a baby, and running towards becoming a toddler. A little part of me can't help but feel some sense of loss for the baby who has, in front of my eyes and in my arms, grown up.
Milin is nearly 14 months old and has been cruising around the furniture and pushing his trolley full of blocks around for months. I've had plenty of notice and months of warning. And let's face it, it's not as though I believed his baby-hood would last forever. But why then am I feeling so sad about his perfectly natural transition to toddler-ville?
He isn't walking all the time, and he is still most confident when he is crawling, but there is no denying that toddling everywhere constantly is just around the corner. When he walks from one end of the room to another he flashes his biggest smile and claps his hands together in glee - mimicking our approval of his new mode of travelling.
He is right to be happy. Once he has fully mastered it, Milin is going to love walking. There will no longer be anything to slow down his desperate need to explore. He will be able to take himself to new adventures all the time. No more waiting for mum to figure out that he is bored of the swings and wants to climb up the slide at the other end of the playground.
I know I will come to celebrate his independence, and love watching how it will no doubt help him develop even more into his very own little human being. And I know that he himself will start to get frustrated if he can't move around to wherever he wants to go at a hundred miles an hour. Yet it keeps coming back to me that with every step that is more confident and more stable than the last, Milin needs me a little less.
It is true they grow up so fast. Apart from the early sleepless nights which stretched into a blurry endless oblivion, the last 13 months has passed by too quickly. Many, many moments of first smiles, sitting up, learning to crawl and the like, have been caught on camera. Many other moments such as first baths, early morning snuggles and Milin starting to throw his arms around my neck for a hug have been etched into my memory. Maybe it has just hit me now how important it is to try and keep them there, to hang on to each precious recollection, and savour as many moments as I can.
The days of Milin falling asleep in my arms are becoming less frequent. My grown up little boy wants to put himself to sleep in his cot bed without me being around. The days of him needing me to carry him to his buggy or the car, or pull toys out of his basket are also numbered. His own little person, he would rather make his own way around and choose his own toys or books for that moment's distraction.
So it is time for me, now that Milin is toddling, to finally accept that those days of him being a baby wholly dependent on his mummy are gone. Those days have morphed into an exciting new series of adventures. I now get to spend my days with this little boy who knows what he wants and can go and get it. He is a little picture of independence, whose placid, easy-going but cheeky personality comes through a little more each day.
He will, of course, always be my baby, but he is also so much more. I admit I was a bit slow to stop seeing Milin as a baby - but do you agree that it is a hard stage to let go of? What made you realise your little one was growing up, and how did it make you feel?
- Essential Mums