Sunday, June 18, 2006

Take oasis, Marat's bathing

All Nolan wants to do these days is walk (or more accurately, lurch) around the house with me bent over holding each of his hands in mine, shuffling along behind him while trying not to step on his feet. My back is killing me. If I try to park him for a moment at a suitably stable object of the correct height for him to hold onto, he just stands there, one hand holding himself steady and the other held beseechingly out towards me, making little "eh-eh-eh" sounds as if to say, "Let's go, woman! Time's a-wastin'!"

He has a lot to figure out before he'll be walking on his own, so this could continue into the forseeable future. He seems to have no idea that he might need to look down occasionally to see if there are any obstacles blocking his path - he just keeps his head up and focuses on where he wants to go. Good advice for life, perhaps, but not so much for learning to walk. (As Ferris Bueller so helpfully reminded us, "Life moves pretty fast sometimes. If you don't stop and take a look around once in a while, you could miss it."*) So he's constantly getting tripped up by Legos and stuffed animals and magazines that he's previously pulled from the rack and flung about the room. I'm not sure if I should be letting him stumble in order to teach him how to get back up again, or clearing the path for him so he can get the hang of walking and THEN let him worry about the obstacles. See how many decisions you have to make as a parent?

He also overcompensates in other ways. When he wants to change direction, he stops and takes these comically wide, lunging sideways steps, like he's trying to step over a brook with barbells tied to his shoes. He also seems to have the depth perception of a drunk - he'll reach out to steady himself on something and end up missing and falling down, swinging wildly like a good ol' boy after last call who thinks you've just insulted his woman.

When my mom came up for his birthday party, she bought him one of those walkers that encourage toddlers to cruise along, but the problem with that substitute for my hands is that he can only go in a (somewhat) straight line with it, and the opportunities for cruising in a straight line in our little house are rather limited. We took it with us to one of KB's moonlighting jobs the other night, where we figured the long hallways would afford him great chances to test out the walker. He ended up repeatedly swerving to the side and clunking into the walls, which makes me look forward so optimistically to his learner's permit days.

Thanks for reading.

*I just got a (high school) graduation announcement from a younger cousin of mine, and that was their class quote, as printed on their announcements. Fabulous. I don't think my high school would have let us get away with something quite so...seditious.

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