Maddi, vidi, vici

In recent months, Maddi has developed quite a knack for getting into mischief as quick as lightning. At first, it was spying the tiniest piece of lint or cat hair and cramming it in her mouth. Last month, it was climbing anything and everything. Last week it was doorknobs and light switches. But this week, Maddi has taken her impish inclinations to a whole new level.

On Monday, I put Maddi down for her afternoon nap and, as usual, watched her for awhile on our closed-circuit camera. As usual, ignoring her bleary eyes and the fact that she’d been awake for six or seven hours, she monkeyed around in her crib for a good 30 to 45 minutes rather than commencing with the dreaded nap. I watched her racing around trying to fit various body parts through the slats for awhile, and then went on to check email and keep abreast of world news (OK, really I just played “The Sims 2”).

After Maddi’s nap, I went in to fetch my wee one and was stymied to find that, although her crib has already been pulled away from the window (adjacent by about 6 inches when the crib was in its old spot), our little daughter was now frolicking in about four feet of tulle. After I got over my heart attack, I removed the curtains only to discover the mattress pad and half the bottom sheet bunched up underneath the tulle. It seems that zip-top mattresses are not so foolproof after all. The wee one apparently grabbed the zipper pull and unizipped around the top corner and all the way down to the bottom corner before deciding her time was better spent conquering those pesky elastic things that hold mattress pads onto mattresses.

I tucked the pull into the gap between the beginning and end of the zipper after remaking her bed, and wouldn’t you know it, after her next nap, the zipper was again gaping for a good one-quarter of its length.

But lest you presume that zippers are the only thing Maddi has conquered this week, let me assure you that she has been quite busy indeed.

In addition to dismantling bedding, she has also discovered a new thing to do in the hallway. Once upon a time, all we had to worry about was dust-bunny consumption and outlet-fiddling (they’re still prohibited, as just because ours are babyproofed doesn’t mean she won’t encounter exposed electrical outlets elsewhere). This, however, was before Maddi started developing her fine motor skills in earnest. Now that she had mastered switch-flipping and zipper-zipping, our little angel has moved on to vanquish the outlets for the central vacuum. These are quite the challenge for the wee one, as they require some serious finger-wedging and use of the opposable thumb, but Tuesday, while I ran into the bedroom for literally 30 seconds to change my shirt, our darling doll of a daughter managed to pry one of these outlets open (a difficult task even for me!) and stick her chubby little hand in the incredibly filthy hole. After much panicking and scolding and hand-scrubbing, I put Maddi back down in the hallway to grab the diaper bag and head down to the car, and what do you think she did? She went straight for the vacuum outlet again — and has at every opportunity since.

And that’s not all. Last week she discovered that, with enough muscle thrown into the task, she could pull our floor vents out of the floor, which means one more thing to look out for in “babyproofed” rooms.

And yesterday, Maddi’s months of climbing culminated in the most exhilarating ascent of her mountaineering career — the taming of the sofa. Yes, the baby has finally climbed up onto the sofa all by herself, albeit with the cushions off. Let me just tell you that the cats were absolutely delighted by this development. As Maddi stood proudly at Camp I and headed for the summit, Deva registered her appreciation by baring her claws and Selkie celebrated by bolting from the room.

The first time Maddi made the ascent, it took her about five minutes of grunting and leg-flailing. Her second trek was completed in a mere 30 seconds or so, with our daughter giddily jabbering “Up, up, up!” all the while. Her third climb, with Daddy observing, took six seconds flat.

Who knows what will be next? She’s been trying to lift herself onto the seat of the glider (of all things!) using her arms as if emerging from a pool, and doing quite well at pulling herself up a bit, so anything is possible!

As always, there’s more news on the word front. Maddi had previously called every form of seating a “hi-ta” (that’s Maddish for “high chair”). This week, after my saying, “Yes, that’s a chair,” whenever this happened, she has begun saying “chair” (or, rather, “tjha”) while pulling herself up on the glider and other adult chairs. She has also begun occasionally using the appropriate sign for “food” rather than using the “milk” sign indiscriminately for all sources of nutrition. And I’m 99 percent sure, based on context, that sometimes when she’s saying things that sound sort of like “dadj” and “ut-dadj,” she’s actually saying “that” and “what’s that?” She just needs to work on her enunciation so we can be sure. So the official count is 20 words now (if you count “chair” and “high chair” as separate words) and possibly quite a few more (we’re still not counting “again,” “I love you,” “bath,” “light,” “that” or “what’s that?” just yet, and even though she said “Isuzu” just as clearly as you please last week, we’re afraid we can’t include that either).

Unfortunately, it seems like she’s been working a little harder on her mischief-making than she is on her talking. For instance, we’re still not sure if she can say “bath” or not, but we know for certain that she can drain the bath because that’s the way about 25 percent of them end these days.

Tune in next week for more tales of tomfoolery.

Coming soon: Pictures of our zipper-manipulating, outlet-opening couch climber! (Update — during her Friday afternoon nap, Maddi somehow managed to completely remove her jeans! And she just did it again for the second day in a row.)

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