What’s New: On the Move!
On Wednesday afternoon, I posted a photo of Elliot standing up, having pulled himself to his feet using the handle of his walker wagon. The caption said something about how he, “thinks crawling is unnecessary. Would like to walk already.” On Friday morning, he started crawling, and has since been everywhere. He doesn’t do the traditional hands and knees crawl, or the downward dog/bear crawl that his sister did for a day or two before moving to her knees. This boy has his own style. He gets himself into a nice, deep squat and then leans forward to put his hands on the ground. He moves his hands alternately while scooting along on his feet, and he gets everywhere he wants to while doing it! He still tries very hard to straighten his legs from the squatting position to standing, though, and has even managed to stand on his own for a few seconds already. He’s incredibly determined, this baby.
I can’t do much but stand in awe of the lightning fast pace of infant development. When E had his run of the house this weekend, he was pulling up on everything, and I was really beginning to worry because he would stand up, then try reaching for a toy on the floor, let go, and fall and bump his head. He did this repeatedly and I questioned my judgment in having given tools for pulling himself to standing. I thought I was following his lead, but perhaps it was all too soon and I’d instead started him on the path to a head injury. That mommy guilt – such a jerk. The very next day, though, he figured out how to drop down to his bottom when he wanted something from the ground, and there have been no head bumps since. He’s finding his way. Annabelle is still adjusting to the idea that he can, and will, come over and try to take any and everything she’s working with. She is not impressed, so we’ve been working on ways of handling his grabbiness and finding spaces for uninterrupted work with her things. We’ve also been talking quite a bit about choking hazards, and she’s getting pretty good about keeping things like beads off the floor. This big sister gig is hard work!
Annabelle’s growing independence blows my mind several times a day. Remember all of the challenges we had with sleep when she was younger? Then there was the very long, but nonetheless enjoyable toddler bedtime routine. These days both kids take a bath together and then I get Elliot ready for bed while Annabelle goes into her room, puts on her pajamas, chooses a bedtime story, chooses her clothes for the next day, and then empties the small laundry basket in her bedroom into a larger one for the whole family’s clothes. She nurses, we read one story, she gives Elliot and me both a hug and a kiss, and I turn on her music and off her light. Many mornings, she gets herself dressed before even coming out of her room. Several nights ago, she woke up to use the bathroom and I helped her back into bed, snuggling up next to her, since this is what used to be required to get her back to sleep after a night waking. I went to get up, expecting her to stir and insist that I stay, but instead she told me, “You can go now.” Two nights ago, I got up after her bedtime story and was apparently too slow in getting to the door, because, pulling up the covers and closing her eyes, Annabelle directed me to, “Go out of here.”
She still chooses new names for herself most every day, and typically these new names come with an insistence that she’s a boy not a girl and a brother not a sister. I’m happy to go along with this, but have been explaining that when she chooses the same name as one of her friends at school on a school day, things are likely to get a bit confusing. She has delighted in silliness, in song, in art, and in messy, messy play lately. Splashing in muddy puddles and getting her play dough wet and slimy were highlights of her week, I’m pretty sure.
She is also suddenly big on being friendly, and I’m glad we let her come around to this on her own, because I love seeing the genuine interest she takes in others we meet. Smiling and saying hello to people on the street, chatting with anyone who says hello to her on the train, and asking everyone she talks with, “How was your day?” or, “How was your sleep?” On Skype each evening, she asks, “So, how was your class, daddy?” Her typical responses to the answers she gets are, “Oh, that’s funny,” or, “I didn’t even know that!” At school this morning, she greeted all of the children I didn’t get to just as they walked in the door, saying, “Good morning! So, what would you like to work on first?” Of course I need to be extra careful with what I model now (always!), because she mirrors it all later on. I see her showing some real signs of empathy lately, too, covering her face and looking visibly upset when she hears news that someone is sick or hurt, for example. She also does small things, like turning books so that the picture can be seen from my perspective – something which was previously tough to understand.
I’m eagerly anticipating the return of the daddy, which is right around the corner. Remember the friend who was kind enough to come and visit us? Well, she got Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease and ended up being quarantined in our guest room for nearly a week before going home a week early, because it’s just no fun to be stuck in a strange bed when you’re feeling lousy. So the idea of having help was a nice one, but didn’t quite pan out. It worked well for a bit, and we’re so grateful to her for taking time from her busy life to spend with us. Ah, but I’m tired, though. Bring on the equally shared parenting!
Tiredness aside, I’m on a bit of a high after a wonderful, relaxed week at school. Our class has found a rhythm, and I am enjoying the time there so much. I love the unique personalities in the group, from the second-oldest, who always walks in with a grin and a sparkle in his eye that says he just can’t wait to get started, to the youngest who is so eager to help everyone else that he frequently forgets about his own work. It feels so good to see this community really coming into its own as a community. I love that the children in Annabelle’s class all live within walking distance, and that we know each of their families well, and enjoy them. I’m just so in awe of the way everything has come together, and incredibly grateful. I’m also grateful that in a moment, I can hit publish and snuggle up to sleep next to the cutest baby boy in the world. Just how did I get so lucky?
What’s the latest in your house? As usual, the linky will be open all week, so come by and share with us whenever it’s good for you!