Our worries were needless, that's for sure. The day before we left, Ellie spent her day tentatively walking all over the house while we packed. She would take a few steps then crouch down to regain her balance before standing back up and taking a few more steps.
By the time we arrived in St. Louis, she was turning into a walking fool. Just one day into our trip, she was toddling all over the hotel room, often with a found treasure in hand. Every now and then she would lose her balance, crouch down to catch herself and make a little exasperated noise before popping back up and continuing on her way. It was almost as if she was yelling at herself: "come on, Ellie! Keep it together! You're better than this!"
Her walking only improved as our trip continued, and one of Ellie's favorite things to do was to walk all over our hotel rooms with things in hand. I think our planned daily schedules of leisurely mornings at the hotel until she had napped worked out great, because she had every morning free to do nothing but practice walking. We also made sure she had time to practice in the evenings before bed, too.
By the second week of our trip (Memphis!), she was a pro and even developed a trademark strut complete with arms in the air to maintain excellent balance. By the end of our trip, she was moving quickly in all directions as if she'd been doing it her whole life.
VIDEO: The progression of Ellie's walking! At 0:04 you see her carefully stepping around the house before we left. At 0:25 she's wandering around our hotel room in St. Louis, and makes one of her noises of frustration at 1:01. At 1:12 she's happily strutting down the streets of Memphis, and at 1:31 she's showing off in the St. Louis Airport while we waited for our (delayed) flight home.
Top row: Walking around the holding area at the Gateway Arch in St. Louis as we waited to go to the top; walking out onto the field at Notre Dame.
Middle row: Walking around in Nashville with Aunt Patty; chasing down the Peabody ducks.
Bottom row: Showing off her dance moves at Graceland; working the crowd at Santiago's birthday party; and being a crazy woman in the St. Louis Airport.
The only casualty so far was a pretty nasty faceplant right outside the walls of Graceland. She went down and I saw her face skid along the pavement and instantly had visions of rushing to the hospital. All that resulted, however, was a skinned forehead and nose that didn't bleed one bit (although it did end up looking much nastier than it really was) and less than 30 seconds of tears before she was back at it again. That girl is hardcore.
Strolling down the ill-fated sidewalk outside the walls of Graceland
Her battle scars
So, I think it's safe to say that we are officially into the "toddler" stage now. How did this all happen so fast? I love to see my little girl walking all over the place (and loving it) but man...what happened to that little baby she used to be?