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Just Go! Or, When Will My Baby Start to Walk?

February 8, 2020

Another Way for week of February 7, 2020

Just Go!

(Editor’s note: Fifth in a ten-part series on physical, mental, relational, and spiritual health.)

Our youngest grandson turned one last September and has been perfecting his locomotion skills all along the way. From almost day one, he had watched his older brothers walk and run and tussle and play ball.

Like many babies, he went through a very plump phase when he mostly got to lay around and then sit, enjoying generous helpings of mother’s milk. So he didn’t break any records learning to walk. But never fear, slow and steady gets most little ones there! A healthy infant is born with the urge to go (and I don’t mean here the filling of diapers).

Last fall he began crawling at around one year: I loved seeing him GO and go fast with his army crawl, and finally mastering the true crawl up on his knees.

Then just before Christmas, Edward began standing very well by himself, and launched into a few toddling steps, which inevitably landed him on the floor. Did he give up? Of course not.

At Christmas, towards the end of his five-day visit at both grandparent houses, he showed off his new walking triumphs, looking almost giddy producing great smiles and cheers from us. He seemed to love the attention. But I noticed he did his best walking when people were not cheering him on—donning a face of tremendous focus and putting himself all in with careful balance and forward movement.

Edward–focusing on his walking.

Finally, several weeks later, at his brother’s birthday party, he nails early walking. I observe that he raises up his husky little shoulders—and pushes his elbows out ever so slightly from his sides, which I guess helps him balance. He commences to walk the complete circuit from his living room, through their dining area, into the kitchen, and then back to the living room.

My daughter says she has read that babies and toddlers often do best at developing a new task when they concentrate on one thing at a time: crawling, talking, walking, running. They may not get into much vocabulary as they put great effort into standing up, balancing, going forward. Go Edward!

It is amazing, isn’t it? When you look at animals, many somehow begin walking (maybe falling too) their very first day on earth, longish awkward legs and all.

My husband and I both had fathers who had to learn to walk again. When Stuart’s father was just a young boy and barely started school, he had a debilitating illness. After months in bed, he was able to relearn the steps of walking. And my dad, much later in life, experienced extensive diabetic neuropathy in his legs. It landed him in a wheelchair, with experts at Mayo Clinic saying he would likely never walk again. That was like saying “sic ‘em” to a dog. Through prayer, therapy and faithful exercise at home, Dad was eventually able to walk again with just a cane (or two). My youngest daughter Doreen was mastering walking at the same time and she enjoyed playing on his walker.

This series where we are using action words to inspire us (prompted by my cereal box compels me to take a walk—every day if I can, even if sometimes it is pretty short. My mother started me on this habit and I’m very thankful she did. My sister-in-law also inspires me. Walking is not always an easy thing for her given various physical issues and demands on her time. But she keeps going too.

If you haven’t caught on yet, this week our word is go. As I was writing this early morning, I looked up and noticed the sun spreading beautiful color across the whole sky. I don’t think I need to tell you I quickly left my computer to GO out and enjoy the rising sun. Neither camera nor words do it justice, so just GO if you can and enjoy a glimpse or a walk, even if it to just the nearest window.


Any stories of your children or grandchildren learning to walk? What do you remember or observe?


What or who gets you going–compels you to be active?

I’d love to hear from you. Comment here or send to me at or Another Way Media, P.O. Box 363, Singers Glen, VA 22834.

Another Way is a column by Melodie Davis, in syndication since 1987. She is the author of nine books. Another Way columns are posted at a week after newspaper publication.  



  1. My Fitbit nudges me to GO everyday, 5000 steps at the very least. Besides, sitting at a computer or standing in front of a stove too long makes me cranky. I have to get outside.

    Incidentally, a reading specialist I know said that babies develop scanning abilities while they are crawling, presumably leading to better reading skills. Her advice: don’t insist that your child walk too early. It’s okay, I think, to cheer them on when they are ready.

  2. I rarely get to 5000, but count my swim/water time as equally helpful for my “go” time. Getting away from the computer and whatever we’re writing is to me always helpful: gives me fresh eyes and even “whatever was I trying to write there!!” thoughts.

    You share an interesting comment from a reading specialist. Never heard that particular insight, but I agree that most kids get around to walking when it’s their time. As young parents often say “they grow up so fast.”

  3. From Nick:
    The first thing your column reminded me of was my brother’s quirky behavior when he first started to crawl: He could only go backwards. He was happy until he backed into something. Then he got frustrated and cried. I’m glad to report that he eventually found his way forward, grew up and created a comfortable life for himself.

    A phrase from a Dr. Seuss book (Oh! The places you’ll go!) always inspired me. A recent biography, “Becoming Dr. Seuss,” by Brian Jay Jones provides excellent insights into his genius. He, like Thomas Edison, said that creation was more perspiration than inspiration. He really worked to perfect his books. An interesting tidbit – he worked with Frank Capra (remembered for “It’s a Wonderful Life”) helping to make WW2 “propaganda” films.


    • Love the story of your brother. I think I’ve heard others say this. Thanks for sharing! And I never even thought of the Dr. Seuss book in relation to this topic. Shame on me.

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