Sitting pretty

It seems like just yesterday I was anxiously awaiting the go-ahead to start pushing. In reality, it has been five whole months. For me, it’s flown by as I scramble to stay on top of my to-do lists, maintain our battery supply lest Maddi’s swing be stilled, and keep the house from descending into such chaos that Chris will be forced to take a week off to unearth me from the floor-to-ceiling laundry in our room (OK, it only took him an afternoon!). There’s never enough time in a day, and it doesn’t seem there have been many days in the last five months. But for Maddi, these five months have been, quite literally, a lifetime.

Maddi has accomplished many things in her short life. Lately, our little darling has been working on her gross motor skills. (I contend that smearing spitup on people, at which she’s quite proficient, qualifies as a “gross” motor skill, but my baby books say it’s a fine motor skill. Well, it’s not so fine with me, but whatever!)

No sooner did she figure out how to sit up with assistance than Maddi began working on removing Mommy and Daddy from the equation. For a few weeks, she’s been pulling herself up to a sitting position when I try to lay her in her baby swing. Instead of cuddling back against my abdomen and chest while reading her bedtime story, she’s been eagerly pulling forward so she can use her gross fine motor skills to wipe curdy gobs of slobber on the pages of her favorite books.

So it shouldn’t have surprised me yesterday when I noticed that, while I was technically holding her as she sat and played with her toys, she was actually sitting on her own.

Sure enough, when I folded up a big crocheted blanket until it was nice and soft and plopped the wee one in the middle, she managed to hold her balance for about 15 or 20 seconds. I tested and retested. It was not a fluke.

Without a toy, Maddi can sit on her own for quite some time. With a toy, it’s a bit shorter because she gets excited, but she still holds her own. Of course, when I brought Chris in to see what his little girl could do, her new skills vanished. She can barely contain herself when he is in the room, and his presence proved far too exciting for our wee princess to be able to concentrate on her balance.

Less exciting for most people, but very thrilling to me, is Maddi’s final accomplishment of the back-to-front roll. She did it once on accident, many weeks back, and was shell-shocked by the unexpected tummy time. She never rolled onto her tummy again.

I tried everything I could think of to get Maddi on her front and keep her there. Mirrors were used to no avail. The flaps on her Gymini’s floor? Worthless! Getting face-to-face with our wayward wee one was an exercise in futility. The second she had the opportunity to roll onto her back, she did it in a flash.

As you might have guessed based on my conviction while pregnant that my failure to complete a French memo board for her room would result in our daughter’s becoming homeless and drug-addicted as an adult, I was convinced that the worst would happen: Poor Maddi, so traumatized by her hatred of tummy time, would never learn to roll over. She would then fail to learn to crawl, which of course would lead to her never learning to walk. I envisioned her at two years old being rejected from nursery school because she’d still be getting around by pushing off against things with her feet. I pictured her scooting up the halls of her university on her bottom. The scenario seemed pretty bleak in terms of Chris and me being able to enjoy our golden years.

But — lucky me! — we live in Canada, where the public health unit has weekly sessions in which experts answer questions from parents about these puzzling young creatures in charge of whom we have found ourselves. On Tuesday, I was fortunate enough to talk to the infant-development expert, who gave me some tips on getting Maddi to roll over.

Tonight, I lured her onto her side using her beloved banana toy. Then I moved it just out of reach so that she would have to roll onto her tummy. And what do you know? Apparently, that silly toy was all the incentive she needed. Not only did she roll onto her tummy, our little one actually stayed there for a few minutes while I praised her to the skies.

So, all of you who were worried about her grim future, you can rest easy now! (OK, so maybe it was just me.)

So some things took a little longer than I had thought they would, and others have sneaked up on me way too quickly.

Not least of which is the fact that my tiny baby is now fast approaching her half-birthday. And yet, somehow, the laundry is never done and my to-do list has only gotten longer. And there are always more batteries to buy.

And here it is: A picture of our proud 5-month-old sitting all by herself.

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