As your little one's newfound mobility removes her from the ranks of babyhood dependence, remember:
- Your feelings are normal. Almost every parent experiences ambivalence or even sadness about her baby growing up so quickly.
- Your importance is undiminished. New walkers need lots of encouragement. Focus on how much your toddler still needs you.
- A toddler has to explore. Being overprotective will backfire in the long run. Avoid saying "No!" and divert your child to safer ways of exploring -- for example, have him climb on a pile of pillows rather than the coffee table.
- Her achievements deserve to be celebrated. Learning to walk is a monumental milestone -- one that should inspire pride and happiness in parent and child alike.