Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Monkey See, Monkey Do

Ryan has been on the verge of crawling “properly” for weeks now. He could roll, he could inchworm, he could commando crawl, he could go backwards on his hands and knees, he could even lurch forward one “real” crawl at a time. But no true, up on hands and knees, moving across the room at a steady rate, crawl. Herb joked several times that if we just put him in a room with a baby who could crawl, he’d figure it out in a heartbeat. After all, he had all the steps, he just hadn’t put them together in the right order yet.

Well, we had that opportunity to have him in a room with a crawling baby this past weekend at Cannon Mountain. We took the aerial tram to the peak, then had our picnic lunch in the little cafeteria there. And while we were finishing our lunch and waiting for the next tram back down the mountain, we met another family with a couple of little ones. The little girl, Lily, was 2-1/2 and weighed 5 pounds less than Ryan. The little boy, Russell, was 13 months old and about half Ryan’s size (height AND weight). Ryan was fascinated by both of them. He and Russell sat on the floor and stared at each other for a few moments, Ryan with his slack-jawed, furrowed brow expression, and Russell with a binky in his mouth and his big dark eyes wide, both taking in the situation. After a moment or two, they both reached out and pawed at each other a bit, then Russell apparently got bored, leaned over, and crawled right over Ryan’s foot to the other side of the room at about a million miles an hour. Ryan just stared after him, as if to say, “How does he DO that??” He watched both older kids zooming around the room from his seated position, flapping his arms and craning his neck with excitement and interest. We wondered just how much he was taking in.

Yesterday, we found out. It was so hot that we played in the pool for quite a while in the afternoon, and when we got out I left Ryan in his damp swimsuit, thinking he’d stay cooler that way. But I didn’t want to bring him inside still that damp, so I laid out a big towel on the pool deck, plopped myself in a chair between him and the pool, and plunked him on the towel with a few toys. He sat there, looking at the toys for a minute or two, then very determinedly and deliberately pulled himself up on his hands and knees, crawled the whole length of the towel towards me without stopping, and proceeded to grab on to the side of my chair, haul himself up into a kneeling position, and try to pull his knees up to get his feet underneath him! Astonished, I gave him a bit of a boost and he proudly grabbed the arm of the chair, swaying drunkenly but very much standing on his own two feet!

Naturally, I immediately made him do it again, just to be sure I wasn’t seeing things. And immediately after THAT, I set up the video monitor and e-mailed Herb to come check out Ryan’s new tricks! Of course once the camera was on he was much more interested in other things, but when Daddy came home he did crawl across the bedroom floor and pull himself up on the side of the bed.

This is a very exciting development! But of course, it comes with a price. This morning I dropped his crib mattress down to the lowest position – since he’s so tall, if he tries to pull himself up on the side of the crib with the mattress in its previous position, he’d go right over the side! Even with the mattress dropped all the way down, it won’t be long before he can climb out of the crib, I expect. And this lightning fast crawling means I can’t take my eyes off him for a second. No more leaving him on the nursery floor for 15 seconds to grab the phone in the other room, no more leaving him downstairs while I take a bathroom break, no more letting him explore the kitchen floor while I make dinner. I suspect that the Pack & Play and the free-standing playpen will start to get a lot more use all of a sudden!

Not to mention, I’ll be doing a lot more racing to reach something forbidden before he does, pulling him down off chairs and couches and bookcases, picking him up from under toys and cushions and other random objects that he’ll manage to pull down on himself. Good thing my biceps are already in pretty good shape – they’ll need to be!

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