The first couple of years of motherhood are filled with huge milestones. First smile, first laugh, first word, to name a few. But I think the most complex milestone is that very first step. It's complex because all you've wanted for months is for your baby to walk so you don't have to carry them and eight bags of groceries up three flights of stairs, but now you're sad because your baby is never going to need you again. As with all parenting moments, nothing is simple, but there are some books parent should read their child before they learn to walk to help you deal with the contradictions of motherhood.
And hey, walking is no small potatoes to your kid either. It's a big first step, literally, into the journey and adventures they're going to have as an independent person. You'll find that they go back and forth between not wanting you to let go of their hand and literally pushing you away so they can explore on your own. They'll feel trepidation about taking that first unassisted step and then, weeks later, they're running in all directions as fast as they can.
I think books are the perfect way to navigate all of life's little moments, but especially when it comes to children. So to prep you and your kiddo for their first steps, here are 13 books you should read them before they become official toddling tots.
1. 'Little Bear' by Else Holmelund Minarik
When your children learn to walk, you assume that they are now totally independent and will start contributing to the household soon, right? Not the case, especially in the classic Little Bear. Little Bear may be able to walk and prepare for adventures, but he does a lot of walking back and forth to his mother for her help. A walking kiddo simply means you don't have to run to them for their every cry, but they will totally find you.
2. 'Winnie-The-Pooh' by A. A. Milne
Childhood is an adventure and no book describes it better than Winnie-the-Pooh. You can give your future walking babe tons of ideas with this timeless literature and their little feet will be carving a path through their own Hundred Acre Wood soon.
3. 'Love You Forever' By Robert Munsch
The minute my daughter started walking was the minute I realized my baby was really growing up. Love You Forever is a book I remember from when I was little, but it has so much more meaning when you're watching your own baby take the reigns of life and start off on their own adventure. But no matter how fast they walk, they'll always be your baby.
4. 'The Story Of Ferdinand' by Munro Leaf
A bull takes the lead in The Story of Ferdinand, but he's not like all the other bulls. Instead of jumping around, head butting, and leaping, Ferdinand is just happy to sit and relax. Perfect to take the pressure of walking off of you and your kiddo's shoulders.
5. 'Blueberries For Sal' by Robert McClosky
Blueberries for Sal is a sweet adventure book for your budding walker, but it also has an important lesson -- follow the right mother. There's nothing like a kid learning to walk and then teaching them to stay close, and this classic book does just that.
6. 'Giraffes Can't Dance' by Giles Andreae
Gerald is a sweet little giraffe who wants to dance, but finds that his crooked knees and long, thin legs make it very difficult. But with the right encouragement and support, he learns he can dance to his own beat and follow his own rhythm in Giraffes Can't Dance. Not all little walkers are the same and they all seem to blossom with different steps and at different times, so be sure to share the story of a little giraffe who made it happen.
7. 'Wherever You Are My Love Will Find You' by Nancy Tillman
Your baby's first step is their first journey into their own path. While it may not seem as big as their first car or the day they leave for college, it can still give both you and your kiddo all the feels. Read them Wherever You Are My Love Will Find You as a reminder that no matter how far they go or how long they walk, you are always there.
8. 'We're Going On A Bear Hunt' by Helen Oxenbury & Michael Rosen
Adventures abound for families with walking little ones (and a whole lot of work, too) just like in We're Going on a Bear Hunt. Not only will it inspire you and your tiny tot to get out there for some adventure, but the text and sweet interactions will have you teaching your little one how to go over things, under things, and how to make a big splash with their feet.
9. 'The Snowy Day' by Ezra Jack Keates
Your baby's new walking feet aren't just for laps around the coffee table. In The Snowy Day, all the wonder of childhood is present as little Peter marvels over everything, including his magical footprints in the snow.
10. 'Whose Knees Are These?' by Jabari Asim
Those perfect little knees are going to take your baby to so many places, so celebrate with Whose Knees are These?, a gorgeous picture book filled with illustrations of sweet baby knees from a mother's view as her kiddo sits in her lap.
11. 'From Head To Toe' by Eric Carle
A fun way to introduce your kiddo to new body parts and movements, From Head to Toe tells the story of animals and the ways they move, like giraffes bending their necks and elephants stomping their feet. Plus, the illustrations by Eric Carle are gorgeous as always.
12. 'Corduroy' by Don Freeman
Corduroy may be the story of a sweet little bear on an adventure in a department store, but as your babe learns to walk, they'll definitely relate. Normal, ordinary things seem a whole lot bigger and more mysterious to Corduroy, which is exactly how the world will feel to your little one learning to walk.
13. 'Oh, The Places You'll Go!' by Dr. Seuss
When I graduated high school, my older sister gave me a copy of Oh, the Places You'll Go! and it's one I still pick up to read. It's perfect for any one starting out in the world, but especially a little one learning to walk. You'll find yourself getting teary eyed at how that first step is going to lead to so much in their future.