Motor, this is Development Overwatch Main, what the $@*!# was that?
Motor, this is Development Overwatch Main, do you copy? Come in Motor.
Ah…uh…DOM, this is Motor, we read you loud and clear. We’re, uh…
What just happened down there?
Okay, DOM, this is Motor…
Motor, what was that wild ride just now?
Sorry, we’re in a little confusion right now. We’re not sure what that was. Seemed to be activity coming from Right and Left Ground Terminals.
Well, can you raise them? What do they say?
Uh…we’re working on that, DOM. Should be…we’re trying to get a report.
Well, move it along. I’ve got Central breathing down my back wanting to know what that was.
Right. Roger that. We’re just…oh, here we go. We’re getting a signal from Left Ground Terminal now. I’ll hook it in…
Left Ground this is Motor, come in please. What’s going on down there?
Left Ground, this is Motor, do you copy, over.
Yeeehawww!!! LGT here. Loud and clear, baby, LOUD and CLEAR. Yow!
What’s happening, Left Ground?
Hey, cupcake!! We are WALKIN’ down here, baby. Walkin’, walkin’, walkin’!! Whoohooo!!
Left Ground this is Motor, please repeat. Did you say we’re walking?
We’re WALKIN’ sugar!!! We’re strollin’ the promenade, baby. Steppin’ out!!! Look ma, no hands!!!
[signal noise…intermittent jubilation]
Development, this is Motor, did you copy that? We seem to be ambulatory.
Motor, we copied loud and clear. See if you can get us a feed from Right Ground for confirmation.
Roger Wilco, DOM, over.
LGT, this is DOM, nice work ladies and gentlemen. Stellar work. Central will be very pleased about this. We’ll need to reproduce the experiment as soon as possible, but for now, everybody take five. You’ve earned it…uh…baby.
Millie B Walkin. On August 25, precisely 14 months after she was born, Millie took her first balanced steps. She had tumbled forward a couple of times, but this was sustained walking. Naturally, we are filled with an age-old admixture of delight and panic. Millie is one of those babies who want to be into everything.
In the last week her perambulations have become more extended and one would often find her standing still, turning some item over in her hands, the muscles in her feet visibly working overtime to adjust the position of her tarsals, metatarsals and phalanges. She is particularly well balanced when she’s thus distracted, I guess because her head — that giant weight at the top of the edifice — is not wobbling around and also because she’s not thinking about walking or standing, so part of her brain is being bypassed.
Today she really solidified her new territory. When I came home she was walking everywhere. Careening into walls, falling down, getting up again in that amazing way babies do — pushing themselves up onto bowed legs that each have only a few square inches of floor-gripping surface area at their bottoms. After dinner, I went out into the back yard with the girls and Millie immediately picked up a stick and started walking around waving it like the majorette in a parade.
I suddenly (and once again) have a deeper appreciation for my own parents. It never occurred to me until now that they must have watched my first steps with exactly the same feeling of excitement and wistfulness. Every development like this is a move — however small — away from dependence on us and toward individuation and self-sufficiency. The human body is designed to facilitate that leaving, as though each of us were a rocket born with the fuel it takes to escape the Earth’s atmosphere.