Tuesday, April 11, 2006

the terms of mobility

'The baby's mobile, poots,' my partner told me. I looked at the child, energetically scooting himself around on his tummy. Bah, humbug I thought, and tried to persuade myself otherwise. This wasn't real crawling, it was scooting, it was scootching, and surely that didn't count?

The next day, I looked up to see that the baby had left his lambskin in the middle of the rug, and had scootched off the rug, out of the room, down the hall, where he'd entangled his legs in the laundry hamper. (Moving backwards makes for poor steering, it seems.) Stubbornly, he'd pushed himself and the hamper back on his way for a couple of feet. Hmm. Still, I said, it's not crawling.

This past weekend, I rose bright and early, determined to accomplish three days worth of chores. Today, I'll put in the childgate, I said. I'll be preemptive, a smart parent, on top of her game. I sent my partner deep into the pit that we call a basement. He returned frustrated. Alas, half the childgate had disappeared, while the other gate lacked a crucial piece. I glared at my partner and tried not to look too relieved. Behind us, the baby rose on all fours and waggled his bottom in the air. We studiously ignored him.

That evening, the baby learned how to move forwards, by dint of first sitting, then stretching forwards, and finally pushing his bottom towards his hands with one leg. (Try it - it's very yoga-like.) He did more bottom waggling. And then he looked at me and offered up a proud, happy smile. I sighed with defeat.

The next day, we had a brand new, installed childgate at the top of the stairs. My eldest, who'd sacrificed a day at the Museum of Science for the gate, seemed delighted in this mark of his sib's accomplishments. And the mama? Well, I survived the consumerist hell that is Babies R Us and came home, where I buried my hands in some fresh dirt and showed my son how to plant seeds. For they do grow, you know...

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