Here's a photo of Orla taken not so long ago on her ride-on.
Orla got her ride-on for her birthday. It is one of her favourite toys. Although she was not physically able to ride it when she received the gift, she took to it immediately. She knew exactly what it was for and decisively claimed it for her own. (This was helped no doubt by repeated, excited viewings of Aidan zooming past her on his identically-coloured motorbike). Very soon after, she was able to sit on it herself. Then she rocked to and fro. Now she can propel herself forward (although she hasn't really got the hang of steering yet, so she tends to head for the wall/couch/chair and get stuck). In the last day she has been able to clamber on by herself if the ride-on is steadied by a hand or if it is propped up against a wall.
Children appear to have a built-in drive to develop, grow and learn. For me it is a wonder to watch! They are natural experimenters and explorers. They are never content to stay in one zone - once sitting, there is a drive to be mobile, once crawling an unyielding urge to stand and walk. They want to know how things work, how this relates to that, and they pursue their goals with a singular sense of purpose.
Today Orla stood unaided. Just for a moment. But she stood nevertheless! It was purposeful and I watched the expression on her face as she realised her position. Satisfaction. Wonder. Acknowledgment that something different was happening. Momentary concern. Instability. A hand reached out to reclaim a supported stance.
I guess that one of our jobs as first teachers is to nurture this drive. It gets more difficult to maintain this natural momentum in the longer term. For Isabelle and Aidan, it is more intellectual and social, about answering the whys and engaging in conversation when it would be far easier to just say "Because" or "I'm busy right now". It gets harder too when they are heading in three different directions simultaneously, all demanding a different kind of attention or support.
But it is such a pleasure to be there when they achieve their goals. And such a privilege to facilitate this.