Bubby D likes to smile at strangers. Many of whom smile back, and then ask the inevitable question: ‘ooh, how old is she?’
When I reply ‘fifteen months’, the response is fairly often ‘but she’s so small!’ and is then followed by ‘is she walking?’.
And, just like her mother – and more recently her brother – before her, I reply she is not.
I didn’t walk until sixteen months and neither did the Wee Man…and Bubby D doesn’t appear to be anywhere close to reaching that milestone either. I’m not particularly surprised, since we are all a bit wobbly due to varying degrees of hypermobility which is a bit of a problem when you need a stable core to keep you upright!
But one thing she HAS recently begun to enjoy is taking a few tentative steps around with the aid of a baby walker.
I don’t mean one of those sitting-in contraptions with the wheels that babies can scoot themselves around in – she wouldn’t get very far in one of those in our house in any case, since they are quite large and the floor space in our front room is not – but rather an activity walker which has a fun, toy filled panel on the front and a handle at the top which she can grip to provide her with support as she walks along behind it.
More specifically – it’s the Chicco Baby Steps Activity Walker. Not only does she love walking with it, with a big pleased-with-myself beam permanently on her face as she manoeuvres it around the room, but she loves playing with the front of it too.
We looked at a few activity walkers and in terms of the interactive bit this one wasn’t necessarily the one I would have chosen, as it didn’t seem to have as much to do as some of the others. However, Bubby D has managed to prove me wrong and is happily entertained by it for long periods of time – repeatedly picking up the shapes and balls and posting them down the hole at the top, before clapping with glee as various lights and noises occur as a result. It also provides entertainment for me, because when she presses the little red flower on the right hand side it plays a jolly little tune with a nice beat which she seems to think is the best thing EVER – she does this funny little dance every time she turns the music on which I can’t help giggling at! Every time the music stops she goes right for the flower to start it up again while jiggling in anticipation.
The Wee Man gets a lot of fun out of it too as he likes to see how many objects other than the ones it came with he can fit down the hole into the tray at the bottom…and I can attest to its robustness as he enjoys careering around the room with it at quite some speed as well!
In terms of helping her walk around, it’s nice and sturdy and the wide wheel base means she doesn’t get her feet tangled up as she moves around. The wheel struts also have ‘brakes’ which slow it right down, producing just the right amount of friction for her to walk confidently behind it without faceplanting as it scoots off ahead! The handle is at just the right height for her to push comfortably and its light enough for her to turn it easily if she wants to change her course.
It is quite bulky to store – it would be good if it folded down – but it actually fits very snugly around her box of Duplo, so it doesn’t take up much additional space when stowed away with her other toys. The batteries have lasted well (I’ve not had to change them at all yet) and the shapes and balls that come with it can all be stored inside the tray at the bottom when it’s not in use. Perhaps best of all for me, it’s easy to keep clean as it doesn’t have lots of fiddly little inaccessible bits and pieces.
Every day Bubby D is getting more confident with being up and about, and I’m sure in a few months time she won’t need the walker for support any more. But I’m also pretty sure she’ll still be enjoying the shape sorter, ball poster and groovy musical beats for months to come!