Thursday, February 16, 2012

I'm Comin' Up

At my daughter’s 6-month pediatrician appointment last week, while the doctor was examining her, she grabbed onto the doc’s arm and hauled herself up into a kneeling position. The doc was a bit surprised and asked how long she’d been doing that. I told her about a week and joked that we had to lower the crib mattress so she didn’t launch herself over the side some morning. The doc then told me that most kids don’t get to that stage till more like 9 months. I guess she’d really be amazed if she saw my daughter pulling herself up to a standing position and creeping a step or two around the coffee table today.

Right now, if I put her on the floor in the middle of the room but stand next to her, she immediately grabs my leg and does a “hand over hand” crawl up my leg until she’s up on her knees. (She hates Mondays when I take my son to gymnastics and wear my slippery Spandex yoga pants.) She’s discovering which objects in every room are useful to pull herself up on. If we bring her into the living room, she crawls right over to the coffee table, which is short enough that she can reach up and grab the edge to pull herself up. She’s frustrated in the kitchen because the chair rungs are too low and the cabinet knobs are too high for her to pull up on. Any body part of any human being in a room with her is considered fair game – if you’re sitting on the floor you may find a small warm body pulling herself up your back or grabbing your knees; if you’re walking past a pair of small hands may grab at your ankles; if you lie down you’ll be scaled like Mt. Everest.

When you think about it, the motivation for a baby to get as much height as possible has to be astounding. All the most interesting action is happening far above her head. Up to now, she’s been totally dependent on someone picking her up to be able to see any higher than about knee level. We have a booster chair with an attached tray on the floor where my son eats his lunch, and if my daughter is crawling around while he’s eating, she immediately comes over, grabs onto the tray with both hands, and hauls herself up to peep at him and check out what he’s doing. Being on the floor, she can’t see up over a lot of things, and the curiosity just kills her. Even in her crib, if she’s awake and aware that we’re in the room, she’ll stop playing with her toys and pull the bumper down so she can peer over and see us.

As sad as I am to see my baby girl leaving the tiny baby stage and becoming a crawler and a creeper, I also find it incredibly exciting to watch her learn and grow and explore the world around her. I hope she continues to reach higher and higher all her life. After all, in the words of Shakespeare, “A man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for?”

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