Learning How to Walk

14 months ago it seemed impossible. 8 months ago it felt distant. 4 months ago I still couldn’t believe it would happen. 2 months ago it did. Our daughter walked. Yep. She didn’t just recently celebrate her first birthday, but also her first steps. I’m not talking about 2-3 steps, I’m talking about across the room, through doors, up and down steps, and over the river and through the woods…(just kidding about that last part).


We started thinking about how much we have in common with her. We usually feel like we’re learning how to walk in a new country. Here’s a couple ways cross-cultural adults have to “learn how to walk” just like babies.

1. New Language

We are not the experts. Actually we find ourselves learning every day from the Uruguayans that live around us. Babies spend huge amounts of time listening, making sounds, and trying to talk and we have much in common with them. Did you know that PRE-VERBAL bilingual context babies can distinguish different languages just by watching a person speak? Impressive.

2. New Friendships

Living in another country requires us to take risks to make new friends with new people. Otherwise life gets lonely, boring, and we miss out on the joys of community. Our daughter is a bit of a people person who seems to love meeting new people and interacting with them.

3. New Movements

Did you know that every time we visit the United States now, we struggle not to kiss everyone? In Uruguay, it is more typical to kiss everyone on the cheek which was new to us. Other things like the right way to get on a bus, the proper way to nod your head in agreement, how to signify “who cares” with your hand and face, and how to say “come here” with your hands are all different. Our daughter likewise has recently learned how to walk, crawl, wave, push, carry, and more.

4. Increased Distance

As we’ve moved away, we’ve felt the distance emotionally, financially, and relationally. It’s hard. We are learning how to manage relationships across a distance. Our daughter as well is learning how to deal with babysitters, taking naps while guests are in our home, and walking on her own everywhere without always being held.

What else have you learned from your children? What do you have in common with them? Share below in the comment section. We’d like to know.

  • Ellen DiPinto (Carole’s office)

    My very big life lesson has been that our children come through us, we are the bow and they the arrows. They come pre-packaged with their own personalities and their own paths to forge. We can influence but in the end I don’t think we really control. Now that our oldest has just graduated from college I can look at her and think she is doing what makes her heart sing…maybe not what we would have chosen for her…but knowing she is happy is reward enough. I have learned I really know nothing and I continue learning whether I want to or not. This parenthood thing is quite a journey and one I wouldn’t give up for the world. I have learned so much, it’s just fascinating as you are finding out. We are truly blessed, yes?

    • bradandlindsey

      Ellen, I couldn’t agree more (although I have much less knowledge and experience), we definitely feel blessed. It has been a joy to celebrate our daughter, to not only teach her but to also learn from her. Not sure I’d agree with you though on the “I know nothing” statement, although it may feel that way sometimes. What did you do to embrace your children’s pre-packaged-ness? What tips would you give to young parents just starting out on the journey?

  • Jenny Feagley

    Patience, patience and more patience is the advice I would give to any parent, young or old. I am a mother of 2, a 7 year old son and an almost 4 year old daughter. They are night and day in personalities and things they like, but they are both such a blessing. Things get a little trying sometimes, but aren’t we the same with how we respond to God and what He calls us to do. I know I pout occasionally when I don’t get my way 🙂 However, patience, love and consistency with discipline are what I have found is the best for my little ones. And just when you think you don’t have enough patience for that day or even that minute, is when out of the blue one of them just looks at you and says, “Mommy, I love you” and all is right with the world again. I’m so thankful for the blessings God has given us and how many times my husband and I just have to laugh about what they are doing or saying.

    Shiloh is beautiful, enjoy every minute (even the trying ones). Thinking of you all.
    Jenny Feagley

    • bradandlindsey

      Jenny, Great advice. I have to admit that we are still learning to be more patient (I’m sure we’ll never stop learning that one especially when numbers 2, 3, and 4 come). When we read the part you wrote about they saying “Mommy, I love you” we both smiled because our little one still hasn’t learned to say I love you. We can’t wait. What system do you have in place remember those times where they make you both laugh that you don’t want to forget? Thanks for any ideas you can offer. -Lindsey

  • Great granddad

    Thanks for the video demonstration of a dear young lady learning to walk. It looks like she has learned in a hurry. She can cover a lot of area in a short time. It would be hard for me to keep up with her, but it is fun observing her. I imagine the next time I see some pictures of her you will have her playing soccer. Love, Great Granddad

    I, too, enjoyed the movie. What fun little children are and how they like to explore. Thank you for letting us share in her growth. Love, Esther

    • bradandlindsey

      Grandaddy and Esther, Glad you liked the video. You know where she got her speed from (her great-grandfather Racehorse Plonk). I imagine she’ll be kicking a soccer ball before long. She definitely knows how to explore.

      We’re looking forward to you coming down here for a visit so you can hold her hand and explore with her. We miss you both. Let us know what dates we can expect you. Hope you got my email about the flights and other details of your potential visit.