Crawling Before You Climb

My son started crawling a few months ago.  It’s been a treat to hear him slapping the floor, to watch him pull away with one leg constantly raised.  I told Dawn that he’d walk early back when I’d change his diaper in those first weeks and his legs would stretch straight.  The little things would feel like sticks.  Try changing a nasty diaper with two stubborn sticks for legs. 

I’d gently tickle the backs of his knees, asking him to bend.  Sometimes he cooperated quickly.  Sometimes he laughed at me and made cleaning time much longer.  Did the boy think I enjoyed the scents of his bottom?  Dawn talked about how a baby smells.  “I want him to smell like a baby,” she said at random times.  As if babies come smelling like powder or lavender or Eucerin.  No, not my kid.  He smells the way I last remember him.  And I’ve changed a lot of diapers.  But I digress.

I knew he’d move quickly with those limbs.  But I didn’t think he’d start to climb stairs before he actually knew how to walk.  We don’t have stairs at home.  We live on a floor and take the elevator.  So, we were visiting a relative, Grammie Joseph, when he did it. 

His mother jumped up the stairs, vanishing before him.  You don’t think about things like stair-climbing unless you’re at a gym watching the unnatural exericse called stair masters or unless you’re a nine-month old, I guess.  This kid went after his mother.  He climbed the stairs, one at a time.  What I do?  I watched and climbed, from a very close step behind him, offering mumbles of surprise and praise and curiosity and encouragement. 

He’d stop on a random step.  He tried to descend too, but I wasn’t ready for that.  I don’t think he was either.  So, he’s not walking.  He’s standing, sometimes on his own.  He’s clenching pulling himself up on pant legs or just legs.  And he’s climbing stairs.  We’ll try walking later.

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