My son’s emerging independence is fascinating for me to watch, while at the same time amazingly frustrating to be a part of. There’s a part of me that misses the adorable little bundle I could cuddle with at any time. The tiny bean who would curl himself up against my shoulder and sleep for hours if I let him. The infant who needed me for everything. I’m afraid my baby is gone. What I know have is a toddler, or rather a baby on the verge of being a toddler.
My son is trying desperately to walk. He can pull up on anything (including flat surfaces like walls). When he gets behind his walker, he trucks across the floor. Well, until he runs into a wall, or the coffee table, or one of his toys. Then I see the determination on his face as he tries to figure out just how to get that walker to move again. He hasn’t quite gotten it yet, but it is simply adorable to watch him try. On the flip side, since he is trying to walk, he spends a lot of his day falling down, which usually means he bumps his head on something. If I’m lucky it’s just the carpet and if I laugh it off and say “bonk” in a funny voice, he smiles and gets right back up. Usually though it’s a leg of the coffee table, or one of his toys or even worse, the tile of our entrance way floor. He gets over it pretty quickly, but the shrill cries that immediately follow those bonks are heartbreaking to hear.
Along with his new found mobility, my son is discovering a variety of foods that don’t just come in bottles and jars. He’s taken to eating yogurt, rice cakes, crackers, cut up pieces of fruit and even small pieces of cheese. He loves anything he can get his hands on. It’s adorable to see him grab a small piece of cheese or a cracker in his chubby little face and pop it into his mouth. It’s even cuter when he misses and it gets stuck to his cheek or lip. What is not so adorable is his sudden desire to feed himself everything. Bits of rice cake are easy to clean off him, when he grabs the entire bowl of strained carrots and turns the bowl upside down in an attempt to eat the bowl, it is a mess that usually extends far beyond him to the carpet, or in the case of tonight’s squash, my work pants. I’m trying to teach him how to use a spoon, but even that is a messy endeavor. Right now every other scoop of food (which I have to help him acquire) is followed by him turning the spoon and putting the metal end in his mouth, therefore getting all the food still in his mouth all over the handle. Yuck!
These discoveries are not all new to him. As soon as he learned how to roll over, he figured out he no longer had to lay still and let himself be changed. It’s much more fun to roll over and make mama try to put his diaper on upside down. Add the fact that he’s been crawling for over two months, and the new game becomes trying to crawl right off of the changing table while mama struggles to diaper him. I remember encouraging both the rolling and the crawling…what was I thinking?
His latest acomplishment comes in conjunction with his learning to stand up. He’s realized now that standing isn’t just for floors. Now he wants to do it in the bathtub. He’s still in a little baby tub, however, that doesn’t seem to stop him from trying to stand up in it in order to grab at everything surrounding him. It doesn’t even matter that I hide his wash cup or his extra toys. Nope, he sees the faucet and wants to stand up to touch it. I’m not sure he got very clean tonight because I spent the entire bath struggling to keep him on his bottom so he didn’t slip and fall face first into the tub of water. He spent most of the bath crying, which was distressing as he usually loves bath time.
Each new discovery and accomplishment brings a wave of praise and then one of fear. How long until he learns to open the baby gates and ends up in the fire place or pulling all the pots out of the kitchen cabinets? He’s already eyeing the one in the hallway, and I can tell he’s trying to figure it out. He’s a sneaky little monkey.