I love babies who walk. Babies that walk don't have to be carried everywhere. When you're traveling through an airport, babies that walk can entertain themselves by walking around and looking at things without getting thoroughly filthy. Babies that walk can follow you around the house more quickly instead of crawling desperately while you walk away, crying like their little tiny hearts are going to break. They are much happier, almost as happy as babies that can talk.
William was the earliest crawler in our house, starting to crawl at six months. I was so happy, eagerly looking forward to him pulling up on furniture and walking soon after that. He started pulling up on furniture a few months later, but stubbornly refused to walk. I had high hopes that he would learn to walk before we left Dushanbe, but was thoroughly disappointed and instead had to bodily haul him through security instead of letting him happily toddle through the metal detector by himself.
When we arrived in Raleigh, he started walking from person to person when we set him up between two people. I thought that he would definitely start then. The rest of my children were fully mobile within a few weeks of those first few footsteps, but William didn't seem to care to try anything on his own. He is very much his father's son and quite safety-minded. After he fell off the bridge over my parents' pond, he wouldn't go near it for weeks. And evidently walking didn't look very safe to him, so he stuck to crawling.
But finally he started to take a few steps between the things he was holding on to, between the chair and the wall or the table and a person. After a week or so, he would walk down the hallway while holding on to the wall. And then one day, nine months after he started crawling, while my brother and his wife were visiting, he decided that walking was okay. I watched him walk back and forth on my parents' back deck for almost an hour, moving from family room door to kitchen sliding door and back again.
Now he is a full-time walker. He toddles around the house in the high-stepping never-standing-quite-still way that newly walking babies do, the way that is even funnier when they're stark naked or only in a diaper. When we went to the aquarium last week, I forgot that strollers weren't allowed and didn't bring the baby carrier. But William was perfectly happy to wander through, just walking around in a new space for the sheer joy of being able to choose all by himself where he went. After we came home from the park yesterday he had completely clean knees. Now when I walk away from him, he follows right after, happy to stay in my orbit. It really is great.
And next time we fly, all six of my children will be able to go through that metal detector all by themselves.