On Saturday 19th May, Lydia took her first real solo steps.
We'd gotten used to her taking a few steps between objects or people, but this never lasted more than maybe 10 steps or so. We were constantly encouraging her to do this, getting her to practise at home and elsewhere. We had also gotten a bit tired of wondering when she would actually start walking on her own, given that we had been waiting for the day for so long.
All of a sudden, it happened.
We were at the birthday party that one of my wife's friends held for her son, with a playground just next door. Lydia was getting a bit fed up of being inside, so I took her outside to play for a while. After sitting on the swing with her on my lap for a few minutes, she squiggled in my lap and looked as though she wanted to get down. I lifted her off my lap and placed her, standing, on the floor in front of me.
She began to take a couple of steps, and I fully expected her to fall to her hands and knees in the next few seconds, so much so that I didn't even stand up from the swing. She took a few more steps, then a few more, with no sign of being ready to drop.
With her arms outstretched in front of her, she walked what must have been 20 metres from where I set her down to the wooden playhouse on the other side of the playground. When she got there, she then set off on another marathon walk of several metres to the next playhouse, not once looking like she would fall to the floor in defeat.
I watched this unfold from my seat on the swing, my heart filling with joy and my eyes tearing up with pride. My little girl, at just under 13 months old, had finally mustered up the confidence to walk by herself. Suddenly, it seemed, there was no stopping her. That day she must have walked what to us would be the equivalent of several kilometres, all of it with a confidence I hadn't seen in her before (albeit with a zombie walking style).
Just in time for our trip to Cornwall in England at the beginning of June - a chance for her to test her new walking skills on the sandy beaches over there!