Inching forward

Our house has never been babyproof. Oh, I’m sure that before he met me, Chris’ house was like a padded cell. Perhaps it is a man thing, an outcropping of that stereotypical (but true) fixation with gadgets, but he has a predisposition for buying more safety products than can ever be used. Furniture tethers, cabinet latches, outlet protectors, bath thermometers — he had them all. He even had tethers for bottom-heavy furniture, just in case.

However, on my arrival, the house descended into chaos. Now, glass-topped tables beckon in all their shiny, forbidden glory. Delicious-looking lipsticks lie unlocked in an easy-to-reach vanity drawer. Electrical cords have put out tentacles in every corner of the house. And, since we moved last year, the stairs have been sans gate.

We hardly dare mention the havoc of the kitchen — giant blue sacks of recyclables scattered hither and yon, filled with such exciting toys as glass bottles and plastic bags. Or the cat fur that has taken over every corner in the house owing to the fact that I rarely find time to vacuum while Maddi is awake, and for obvious reasons cannot do so while she is asleep.

For the past seven months, we have not really needed to do anything about rooms other than Maddi’s. Our baby has been happily ensconced in what Chris calls “The Pink Palace” and, until now, has sat contentedly in her room for hours busying herself with toys and games (OK, I busy her with the latter).

But all good things must come to an end. Maddi’s recent gains in the rolling department have tipped us perilously close to the brink of needing to babyproof, and she’s been practicing some new skills that have made our position all the more precarious.

Now that our little princess is an accomplished sitter of some two months, she has limitless confidence. Her balance is good enough for her to know exactly how far she can lean in any direction, and if she can’t reach far enough to get what she wants, she’s learned to fall without hurting herself (most of the time — just recently she got her very first bruises!) and roll toward her goal. But that won’t quite do. Playing in the tub, she’s made a discovery in the past several weeks. The buoyant water lifts her sizable tummy so Maddi can get up on all fours. She crawls from one end of the tub to the other, although she hasn’t the strength to travel this way on land. But her little gears have been turning, and she’s certainly trying.

On dry land, Maddi has discovered that if she tucks one leg inward and splays the other out, she can lean over the tucked leg and lurch into perfect crawling position. Unfortunately, since she still lacks the strength and coordination to get up and crawl, she ends up flat on her face every time she pushes off. So she has come up with a novel solution.

If a toy is resting two or three inches beyond Maddi’s farthest reach, she leans over her tucked-in leg as far as she can, until she is almost in position to crawl, save for that one leg. Then she will pull herself forward with her arms, but leave her leg tucked beneath her for balance. It’s not a very effective maneuver, as it only gains her a few inches at most and half the time she loses her balance and ends up lying down. But slowly and surely, our wee daughter is becoming mobile.

Which means that I will have to become more mobile as well and finally get down to babyproofing.

And here’s a pic of Maddi at 31 weeks, safely constrained in her brand-new convertible seat for the very first time!

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