#180 Tripping and realizing no one saw you

Babies take a while to walk.

If you’ve seen it happen, you know there is plenty of falling, crawling, and bawling. Hey, there’s a reason most two-year-olds are covered in fat lips, skinned knees, and coffee-table-dented foreheads.

Learning to walk ain’t easy.

Sure, you did it and I did it but we probably couldn’t do it again. Like learning anything tough and life-altering, learning to walk is a messy process that takes time and patience.

First, there is rolling. That cute little baby-powder ball of flabby arms and puffy diapers twists and shimmies on the cold linoleum with a big smile on her face. This marks a major step as baby is learning to move on her own. Don’t laugh because you were once a flabby, wiggling diaper ball too.

Once that’s nailed, it’s time to sit up and start crawling. This turns the house into a carpeted jungle full of discovery and adventure. Curiosity helps little ones discover pantry shelves, cat little trays, and toilets. Some people have an adorable Crab Baby at this stage, also known as a one-year-old who crawls backward or sideways instead of forward. Watch out for pinchy claws grabbing at your hair and glasses.

Next up: teetering! White-knuckled, apricot-sized hands grip staircase railings and kitchen table legs with furrowed brows and steely determination. The side benefit of diapers comes into play here, as handy ass-padding for the vast number of harrowing, thunderous falls. Eventually, with immense focus and concentration, most of them manage to find their center of gravity and balance the baby chub on their two teeny-tiny tootsies.

After this point, it’s just a matter of time. There’s some nervous balancing without the railing and then lopsided running with occasional face-plants in the front hallway. But soon baby nails it, and after that she’s probably flying pretty high.

Unfortunately, the bad news is that practice doesn’t always make perfect. Even though we’ve been mastering the art of standing tall for years and years and years, everyone slips and falls now and then. Just ask your local small-claims court.

So next time your shoe catches on the top step at work, you trip stepping off the airport’s moving sidewalk, or you bail on a patch of ice outside your front door, remember that not too long ago you couldn’t walk at all.

So your wipeout is really no big deal.

As long as nobody saw you.


Photos from: here, here, and here

30 thoughts on “#180 Tripping and realizing no one saw you

  1. I was walking down a wet, grassy slope the other day and, as you may have gussed, I took a bit of a slip.

    The thought entered my head, “I hope no one saw that,” and I went to get up. But then, as if seeing myself from above, I became aware of my situation: There I was, flat on my arse, with a folder under one arm, a heavy bag slung over the other, and with my legs splayed out in front of me on the cold, damp ground.

    I stopped caring if anyone saw me. I just cracked up laughing.

    By the time I got into my car with my wet-patch bottom, I kinda hoped that someone DID see me. I had a good laugh, so I wouldn’t mind if someone else did, too. ;)

  2. Even if a person didn’t see me trip, they’ll still know I did because I have this horrible habit of saying “I didn’t just trip!” every single time I trip.
    I liked your little literature montage of learning to walk. My godson is just starting to teeter (or toddle as i call it), but only when he really wants something. He’ll stand briefly most times if you hand him his toy while he’s holding onto you and if he wants to mess with something, he’ll take two or three little wibbly, wobbly (literal) baby steps to it. I think that walking in and of itself is awesome :)

    1. true – walking IS awesome! the singer / performer Lori Anderson did a bit on the concept, and pointed out how walking is basically just a series of falls and catches – we fall forward a little, catch ourselves with our foot, fall again, other foot, fall, catch, etc. fun to think about!

  3. I know this will probably get edited, but I’m a huge fan of ‘cat little’ trays. :) reminds me of Chicken Little, or maybe Stewart Little.

    hmmmm…i feel another children’s story brewing!

  4. Correction Neil… is that suppose to be”cat litter tray”
    Anywho, I love that you went into baby mode there. My little one just learned to crawl a few weeks ago. He’s been scooting around, but once he firgered out he could move his arms without falling on his face, he was going like a racecar. He is everywhere. He’s even started pulling up and standing while holding onto something. Yesterday he tried to pull up on hubby’s huge lunch box and it started tipping, but super mom here caught it before anything fell. He’s just about ready to take off walking.
    I don’t know what my problem lately is. Its like one leg grows longer for a quick second and I sort of trip over my own feet. Not very cool.
    Oh, I remember this one time in high school. Me and my bff were running around the gym and I tripped over my own feet… and stumbled the entire length of one side before I actually fell. Stumbling like that was more embarrassing than the actual fall. Oh, and that one time I fell down the bleachers…..

  5. I remember falling in the hallway when I was in grade 7…and ONE person in my class saw….and he went and told EVERYBODY (or so it seemed at the time)…and I got a new nickname for the rest of the year :( lol…and so my relationship with tripping in public started…I even remember tumbling into my lecture hall down the stairs in uni…btw…have you ever seen baby geese trying to walk (and falling every few seconds)…they’re so fuzzy trying to keep up with the pack…it’s the cutest thing!

  6. This happens daily as I work in Crocs–comfortable but very stubborn.

    In other news, I just found out today is Friday! I thought it was Thursday. I am in a completely different mood now. HAPPY FRIDAY EVERYONE!!!

  7. While learning to walk, I found an open door and over-shot for learning to fly, falling off a deck 8′ head first into a concrete stairwell. This resulted in a skull full of stitches and spontaneous sight loss, among other neurological struggles. I’ve never been steadfast…more like a weeble that wobbles and DOES fall down…often! But I have been blessed in many other ways.
    I’ve just watched my grandson go from teeter-toppling to running and dancing, in this past month…such a miracle this milestone!
    The Gravy to TODAY’s post is Aimee Mullin’s story on TED.com!
    As if learning to walk is not remarkable enough…stories as such are truly inspirational!
    The determination of human spirit to overcome adversity and turn obstacle into opportunity, with fortitude and gratitude, stronger and better than before…AMAZING GRACE…AWESOMER!

  8. I loved the buildup to this one :0)
    My little girl was a roller. She literally rolled around the room when she needed to get somewhere, instead of crawling. It was so weird!
    Then, one day, at 11 months old, she just got up and walked. Never crawled before that. Now she is like a professional runner, and I can’t keep up with her! I think my balance has improved more since having my daughter. I am nimbly jumping hurdles left and right just to catch her.
    The last time I tripped I was pregnant. And I got noticed, big time. It was like “poor big fat whale, can’t even gain her footing.” LOL

    1. My last fall was when I was pregnant and I fell down my outside stairs at home during the winter. I slipped on ice and down I went… down about 7 steps. One elderly couple saw me fall, but they only stayed to watch until I got back up and then they drove way.

  9. Another inspirational belongs here:
    The story of
    Daniela Garcia,
    Reader’s Digest, by Anne Mullens!

    1. I am a rehabilitation RN (30 years), and cannot find words to describe
      Daniela Garcia’s story of survival. I can only agree with everyone who has said, “Since the moment of her trip and fall from the train, nothing short of divine intervention and miraculous will.”
      There are MANY people who have to re-learn how to walk in life after illness or injury and to be a part of their experience is awesome.

  10. Sometimes it’s enchanting to be seen…caught and even lifesaving!
    Sometimes it’s just a really good save and laugh!

  11. I fell off my bike once when I was 19. It was an interesting moment because not only was it endearingly nostalgic, but it was also painfully embarrassing (literally and figuratively). I took a dive on the road about 100 ft. away from a house and the woman just HAPPENED to be looking out the right window to see me. Poor little old thing came a-hobblin’ onto her porch “Are you ok deary?!” “I’m fine, I just bruised my ego.”

  12. For our clan, the quickest way to get everyone laughing is to haul out the video of our family’s appearance (early 70s!) on “Family Feud” … there in living color for the world to see is my trip bounding out to play the “Fast Money” round. So — I would say whether unseen or SEEN … it’s kinda hard not to break into smiles when no harm done — except the humiliation. Which, after all, is good for the soul too!

  13. I used to slip a lot when I was younger. Now, I stop and steady myself if there is any danger of slipping. Cant afford to go breaking arms and legs at my age.

  14. Reminds me of one re-memorable winter

    This particular day I was carrying a gym bag, a book bag, and about two text books and a notebook in my arms. And of course I would slip on the ice smack down in the middle of the street (when does black ice even hang out in the middle of the street?)

    Well my books went flying, both bags swung in different directions, and I nearly ended up in a split. Quickly looked around, and it was deserted!! Score!

    Almost made it home free too, cept a car drove by and stopped long enough to tell me “not to worry since it only counted if someone saw me…” blah! :/

  15. A slight variation of this happened to me today. I was at work and I was squatting in front of a small cooler to put something away. It was really comfortable cuz my legs were tired, so I tried to close the cooler door whilst still squatting. I leaned back, forgetting the cooler was on wheels, and it rolled forward, making me completely biff it. Thankfully, no one saw! :D

  16. I walked into a door at school once, many years ago. I was incredibly embarrassed but shrugged it off as nobody had seen my blunder. Little did I realise I actually had blood dripping down my face from the accident. People I encountered kept asking me if I was ok and all I could think was how did they know???

  17. looool .. the best thing is (and you won’t believe it :p) is that it just happened to me minutes before reading the blog post !!

    Makes it even more Amazing

  18. i missed a couple of weeks awesomeness.. been busy at school.. i totally love the pictures. LOL. reminds me of a scene i created when i was in gradeschool and splashed a bowl of soup all over the cafeteria.. it was hilarious..

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