akorn-AWX0207-2298, originally uploaded by Andrew Kornylak

Ashley likes to play around the bottom of the basement staircase. We bought a used gate on Craigslist to keep her away, and we haven't yet replaced it after it fell apart. (The gate at the top is new and solid, so there's no fear of her tumbling down).

She has worked on surmounting the first steps for several weeks. Yesterday she decided to try for the summit. She used to crawl up one or two steps and then fall backward, or slide back down on her belly. Last night she was determined to keep on going.

With my wife behind her ready to catch, and me calling encouragement from the top, she took one stair after another until she ascended the entire staircase by herself. I was proud and terrified. Time to replace that gate.

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