After a few minutes of deliberation last night, The Wife and I decided that NJ officially took her first steps at almost 6 p.m. She's been flirting with the idea for more than a week, and over the weekend she took a half-step a couple of times, then took one entire step. However, she immediately toppled over, so upon further review we disallowed it as an extended fall. (We fawn over her and give her the benefit of the doubt, sure, but we're also sticklers!)
Last night, though, NJ let go of the basement sofa and took two solid steps to her mother, then intentionally flopped into her lap. A few moments later she stood up and went on a three-step jaunt before leaning into the sofa. Perhaps encouraged by our cheering, the usual frustration that comes with falling down wasn't there, so she's likely to keep at it and ramp up her efforts. She also showed wisdom beyond her year by deciding, after her successes, to call it a night with the walking. Quit while you're ahead, kid -- if it's good enough for Joe DiMaggio and George Costanza, it's good enough for you.
So now she's standing like a seasoned pro and is ready to start toddling around. We have a baby gate that I'm going to set up in the office doorway to keep her in sometimes (she likes to crawl from the office into the rest of the basement, and I immediately lose track of her and have to chase her), and to keep her out sometimes. She loves to stand up next to my desk and take things off it, and she's been reaching for Delbert the stuffed armadillo (right) lately, and if she gets him she'll hurt herself and the 'dillo. (I can't have that; I love her more, but I've loved Delbert longer, and he's already missing a couple of claws and the end of his glorious, glorious tail).
NJ is late to the walking game, and for a long time she never showed much interest at all in it. (We're pretty sure she's the last non-walker in her day care class.) But now that she's mastered standing, both by grabbing onto coffee tables or sofas and free-style, knee-bending, rise-from-nothing standing in the middle of the room, she's looking to expand her horizons. Lately she and I have been playing Dogs in the basement -- we get on opposite ends and crawl furiously toward each other (it usually ends with her stopping and giggling wildly while I gently plow into her) -- and I'm looking forward to changing the name of that game to reflect her two-legged status. Suggestions welcome.
UPDATE: NJ took three more steps today at day care, according to her daily summary note. So it looks like this just might stick.