Thursday, March 15, 2012

Cruise, baby, cruise

So the little girl has recently rapidly progressed from “fairly mobile” to “hey where did she go?” She has developed her crawling skills to the point where she can fearlessly climb an entire flight of stairs though of course, as with almost all pre-toddlers, said development has come before completely figuring out that if she loses interest halfway up and tries to sit back, her butt will actually miss the step she’s on and she will tumble pell-mell and painfully on down to the landing. That hasn’t actually happened, as her mother and I have been keeping a close eye on her, but in order to not have to constantly monitor her I did go out yesterday and buy yet another movable baby gate to cordon off the stairs leading from the main floor to the upper level of the house.

Incidentally, the little guy saw the new gate and noted that we now had one for the stairs going up, as well as one for the couple of steps leading down into the den. He then proceeded to ask me, since keeping the little girl from falling down any stairs was covered, how we were going to keep his sister from splashing in the pets’ water bowl in the kitchen, which remains one of her favorite things to do. I confessed that we hadn’t quite solved that one yet, beyond the eternal cycle of picking her up when she gets too close and carrying her to the living room and setting her down amongst her toys, which she will ignore as she starts crawling toward the kitchen again.

Incidentally also, speaking of the pets, I actually bought two baby gates yesterday, one of which is for the basement stairs. The basement stairs have a door separating them from the main floor, and that door is always closed, but the litter boxes are down in the basement, so a while ago we installed a cat door in the basement door. The cat door functions in the sense that it allows the cats to access their privies, and keeps the little guy and little girl from wandering into the basement without parental supervision, and keeps the dogs from helping themselves to an all-you-can-eat cat poop buffet … except not so fast on that last part, there, because eventually our toy-sized backup dog figured out he could just squeeze through the cat door and has been doing so at will. One solution to this might be to make the litterboxes themselves more inaccessible to dogs by putting lids with hatchways on the boxes, but that isn’t feasible for our oldest cat, who is getting arthritic and can’t navigate such configurations like she used to. So now it’s: basement door, closed, keeps out kids and one dog; cat door admits cats by design plus other dog by accident; baby gate across first landing of basement stairs can be leapt over by cats but effectively thwarts progress of other dog; open litterbox in basement storage area for older cat, more closed-off litterbox for two kittens. If any more Law of Unintended Consequences hilarity spins out from here, I am just going to put straw down on all the floors and stop thinking about it.

The Importance of a Stable Home Life
But back to my baby girl, who is extremely close to making the great lurch forward into toddlerhood. In addition to adding the z-axis to her crawling capabilities, she’s very good now at pulling herself up to a standing position and sideways-walking the length of the couch or table or whatever object she’s got a hold of, all by herself. She can do a fair approximation of walking forward if someone holds her hands, too, and in fact on more than one occasion she has crawled over to me, pulled herself up with handfuls of pants-leg, and if I move slowly enough she walks along with me without any encouragement or hand-holding to speak of. She seems much more self-sufficient than her brother was at the same age, but as my wife and I were discussing last night, it’s really hard to say if that’s because we can’t give her the undivided attention we gave him because she’s child 2 of 2, or because she has an older sibling as a role model and forms certain expectations based on what he can already do, or just a fundamental difference in their temperaments, or what.

Either way, though, it’s pretty sweet, especially as she always seems really excited and pleased with herself with every new micro-slice of mastery. Her enthusiasm is infectious, almost to the point of entirely offsetting the end of an era and knowing we will very soon have to say goodbye to the tiny person who would rather be held and carried than anything, and say hello to an independent little whirlwind who needs to run free. Almost.

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