Emma Hollingworth: When they start to walk and talk times get tough!

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When you first have a baby you can’t wait for all the milestones it will reach – first smile, first tooth, first curl etc.

The biggest events are of course walking and talking. You do everything to encourage them to walk and talk. The moment they can roll from one side of the cot to the other you start sitting them up.

Then you put them on their fronts and try and get them into the crawling position while encouragingly shaking a toy just inches from their baffled face.

The great delight you feel once your baby has learned to move on its own is only surpassed once they get up onto their feet.

Admitted when they are on all fours the first move they make is backwards, much to everyone but the baby’s amusement. I didn’t realise my eldest could move like this until I left her one day in a friend’s living room happily sitting up playing with a heap of toys.

But when I came back into the room armed with a much needed cup of tea I found to my horror my nine-month old daughter had disappeared. It was only her muffled squawk being emitted from beneath the side board that I realised she had got her self wedged below it. The only way she could have done this was by propelling her self backwards – aided by my friend’s laminate flooring.

The shock stopped her moving again for a while but within a few weeks this had clearly worn off as she discovered she could move – and forwards.

She spent the next month perfecting this move and soon became the speediest person in the house. Getting under our feet and finding things we didn’t even know we had - like lost coins from under the sofa.

It soon became apparent that we needed to buy stair gates and rapidly so quick was she becoming. One day I discovered she had learned to crawl up the stairs as I found her half way up on her way to raiding the bathroom no doubt.

After that she was soon up on her feet “cruising” the furniture and reaching all sorts of out of bounds things which she must have spent months looking up at with frustration.

However, it took a good deal longer for her to finally have the confidence to let go of the sofa or tables and take those first few tentative steps. But when she did discover her feet there was no stopping her and I would say childcare suddenly became a whole heap harder as you had to constantly watch she wasn’t about to get in any danger.

Consequently we were in no rush to actively encourage the others to get the hang of this moving lark. The later the better as far as we were concerned. You spend all the time wanting them to walk and talk and then spend the next 18 years telling them to sit down and shut up!

However, despite our lack of encouragement walk and talk they will. And at the moment it is the talking part with the youngest which is the most frustrating. She has taken to waking up in the middle of the night not crying but instead shouting at the top of her voice “It’s not fair!” Quite what is not fair we have not yet established as this is all she keeps saying – like a mantra.

We can only assume the “unfair” allegation is a result of something we have stopped her from doing. When I first became a mother I swore I wouldn’t shout at my kids or even say “no”. Instead I would find more constructive ways of letting them down. This theory was of course soon blown out the water when the reality of parenting set in. “No” and “stop that” are the most frequent things I say, and usually to the two-year-old.

Fairness is something we take for granted. When we are children we imagine that we will get fairly treated by our parents – getting the same treats and loving as our siblings. In school we demand fairness from the teachers and other pupils and the same when we get to the working stage of our lives.

But fairness is not always obvious. That is why Sheffield City Council has set up a Fairness Commission to make an assessment of the inequalities that exist in our city so recommendations can be made how best to tackle them. The Commission will operate in a similar way to that of a Parliamentary Select Committee, mounting a short focussed inquiry, taking evidence and producing a final report by September.

For more information and how to take part visit: www.sheffield.gov.uk/your-city-council/policy--performance/fairness-commission