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  • Gareth Ellis

Ru’s Putting His Best Foot Forward

Rupert loves to walk.

From the moment he’s finished his milk in the morning, we put him down and off he goes. He walks back and forth mainly, picking up toys as he goes and handing them over, but he rarely crawls now.

On one hand it’s amazing. Each day he does something a little differently when he walks. He carries himself a little faster, or he keeps his balance a little steadier, or he learns how to walk across the bed or the sofa.

Now though he wants to walk outside. He will be in the pushchair for a bit when we go out walking but when it’s time to get back in, he’s not too happy.

So since the turn of the year when that’s happened we’ve encouraged him to take his first little steps and walk as much as possible.

On one such occasion we took him to Willen Lake and we planned to let him walk from the car park to the pub where we were going to get some lunch and then walk back.

However, when we got there we didn’t think the wind would be as strong as it was. So what followed was what I can only describe as a little marshmallow being slowly blown over and bomping down onto his bum.

We kept picking him up and carrying him but he’s so bloody minded (he must get that from his Mummy) that he just wanted to go back down and try and walk. And neither of us were allowed to hold his hand, oh no, he’s far too independent for that. So you have to waddle after him, hunched over like you’ve shit yourself, in case he falls.

So recently, we took Rupert to get measured for shoes. He’s always had a pair but we weren’t sure if they fit him well enough, and we didn’t want him to start walking in shoes that were either too big or too small.

So we set off for Charles Clinkard in Milton Keynes, made an appointment and off we went. When we went in Rupert sat in the seat and waited patiently before the assistant came over to measure his feet.

“Kids either love this or…” she said, just as Rupert started crying, he was the latter, and she didn’t even finish her sentence. Luckily, she got him measured up nice and quickly and we could get to the fun part – finding some shoes for him.

We picked out a cute pair and he tried them on. The smile he had on his face as he walked around told us that these were the right ones.

So we bought those and got the age old question: “Does he want to wear them out now?” I wasn’t brave enough to take them off him to be fair, so off he went.

Anyone who knows Rupert will know he loves waving at people (most of the time) so we walked slowly behind him as he a) tried to go in every shop and b) waved at almost every single person he passed.

The trouble came when we got to the roads. Of course, the natural thing to teach your children is to hold your hand and look both ways. However, have you ever tried to teach a 14-month-old, sassy, independent little wotsit that?

So what do you do? Your little one wants to walk and be independent but won’t let you hold his hand. Answer – we bought him a reins backpack.

Now onto the next adventure.

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