“Don’t help your baby to walk!”
I’ve heard this advised in the past and I thought it was because a person’s experience should naturally be theirs. I didn’t understand the mechanics of the body when I first heard this, but now I understand and totally agree.
As I worked to recover my left side from paralysis, I’ve tried hard to walk straight as I used to and became frustrated with my inability. I tried everything I could to wake my muscles and I never gained more ability to walk as I used to. One night I started remembering my daughter as a toddler. We never helped her to walk and the memory of her toddling down a hallway inspired me to use my muscles differently.
I’ve treated my left side as a child throughout this recovery to be more forgiving of its inability and I figured I should love my body as I loved my child. With this in mind, it was time to advance to the toddle walk to use the muscles I have in balance.
The toddle walk makes me bend my knees, use both sides equally and gives me a consistent, balanced base for my walk. In bending my knees when I place weight on a leg, I feel more of my upper leg muscles being used and a stronger connection throughout my body.
Having tried this advancement and feeling its effects, my understanding for the advice to not help a baby walk became more clear. When I tried to walk straight immediately, I didn’t use the muscles in my legs, and I wasn’t conscious of my balance. With a month of toddle training, my mind and body became more aware of muscle usage and balance, putting the new skills I have into practice.
If anyone has to recover from lack of ability like me, I’d advise them to be patient and be a child once more. Experiment in wonder to find your way. Keep trying as a child would and be open to all your options, even if it sets you apart. The answers will come when you need them.
If you’re a parent who wishes to see progress in your child, be patient and let them experience it on their own. Every fall is a lesson that increases strength. Everyone learns at their own pace and has individual abilities to develop. Enjoy the process and appreciate the magic of Life in all. We are all children alive and learning with more to discover. Overall, the ways of a child are wise with no set boundaries. The simplicity of how they learn is a great way to discover more.