Sunday, June 12, 2011

A Stairy Adventure (Sunday Snapshots)

 "All things entail rising and falling timing. You must be able to discern this.'
-Miyamoto Musashi 

Up he goes, like a speed demon, to the very top of the stairs. When he reaches the loft, Jack grins as though he has just conquered Mt. Everest, and enjoys the view from above, squawking and making happy little "mamama" and "dadadada" sounds.

I listen until they slowly turn to forlorn squealing sounds that mean, "Mommy, come get me!...  Woman, can't you hear that his Highness is done with this excursion!... Carry me downstairs already! Woman! Mommy! Slave!... I said come and get me!" 

This week he has progressed- he has a sudden interest in going down himself.  I watch him pace back and forth at the top of the steps, pacing back and forth like a lion, simultaneously making little chirping noises like a sparrow.  He wants that first step, but he's scared and he doesn't want it,  

but he wants it.

I have turned him around and shown him how to descend backwards dozens of times, and he knows the danger, the sting of a small fall at this point. I sit 5 steps down, out of reach, and ready to catch.  He turns himself around, backs his toes over the edge....and then changes his mind.

Back he goes to the pacing, crawling back and forth.

And how he wants it.

He pulls himself up and holds on to the rail with both hands, precariously stepping down with his left foot.  But that's as far as he can get; he is not quite advanced enough to bring the other foot down.  He is stuck for a moment, and then he pulls himself back up to the top.  The chirping and the pacing resume.

Another attempt- he centers himself sideways, lays on his stomach, and puts his right arm and leg on that first step, and goes down sideways.  "Yaaaay!" I cheer, "Good job, Jack!"  He crawls back and forth on that first step, but doesn't dare try again.  Up to the top again.  I turn him around and pull his legs down, going over the proper way to crawl downstairs for the umpteenth time.

He laughs at me, flashing his charming pearly white grin, and heads back to the summit.  

I look away for a moment, and hear a 'thump'.  I turn, just in time to see him flying through the air, arms and legs outstretched, mouth wide open in silent terror... and it's a glorious thing, this baby doing a front handspring, head over heels.  Oh, and the height he gets; it's so beautiful- a moving work of art.  I almost hesitate to end this amazing feat prematurely, but instead I hold my arms out and catch him, perfectly, in midair, and pull him safely to me.  His heart is pounding madly, and his little body melts like jelly in my arms as he realizes that he is saved, and he is fine.

"Mamamamama," he murmurs, and holds me tight as I console him.

His breathing slows, and he calms down. "Mmana-ma," ha says, which means, "It's a good thing for you I was wearing a diaper, Mom.  Maybe you should change it now." 

When he loses interest in holding on to me for dear life, and starts to wiggle I put him back on the steps, and show him how to back down.  Again.

It's been said that when your babies are so little, and changing, advancing so quickly, you should replace "goodnight" with "goodbye" as you tuck them in at night.  Every day your little one is a new baby.  Every day is different.  Soon we will have mastered the stairs, and moved on to the next thing.  

Freedom and new experiences are vital to brain growth in babies and young children.  Babies need room to crawl around; they need to explore.  I could just put a baby gate up, and tell him, "You're too little.  You can't do that."  It would certainly make my life easier in the short run.   But he has a desire to master the steps, and he has the ability; why should I stifle that?  The younger the age of the child, the easier it is for him to learn.  It excites me to think that my 9 month old can go up and down the steps by himself, and I'll be there for his safety until his skills are finely honed.

I have spent too much of my life saying "no". I can't do this, we can't, you can't.  I once read a quote by Oprah where she stated that instead of being around people who ask why she wants to do something, she associates with the ones who say, "Why not?".  That really struck me.  I started asking myself," Why not? ", and that simple act really opened my world to new possibilities.

More then anything, it's the fear of failure that holds me back.  I contstantly have to remind myself that failure truly is part of succeeding.  You fail your way to success. Just like Jack falling down the steps, failure is scary, but it's part of the process.  He is learning about the power of a good fall, and gaining respect for heights.  Without a tumble or two, ignorance of gravity could be a real source of danger.  I'm making a conscious effort to enjoy failure.  It's always going to be a part of my life, I need to accept that, stop resisting, and simply embrace it.  I want to be able to be grateful for failure.

It's so easy to become 'stuck' in the same routines, the same habits; it's difficult to push myself to do new things, do old things a different way, try something I thought I could never do.  But it's greatly rewarding.  And it's probably even more satisfying to teach my children that they are able to do so much more than they know.

'The days are long, but the years are short.' 

 I can't wait wait to see what fun comes next at our house.  Why not, right?

" Failure is not falling down, but refusing to get up."
- Chinese Proverb.



Tylaine said...

Kellie, that is one adorable kid you got there. You are so awesome!

Allyson & Jere said...

Love, LOVE this post! Thank you so much for this. I spend my life saying NO and worrying constantly. I think i should print this out and read it daily.

And I wanna just eat Jack, he's so freaking adorable! LOVE the pic on the stairs.

Megan said...

Love this post. I am amazed at his interest at 9 months. I think Jocelyn was 9 months old before she could sit by herself. Incredible.

I've not told you this before, but you are one of the few women/people I have in my life who are upbeat, honest and fun. I love it when our lives overlap. You leave me uplifted, even when you've not really "said" anything. Thanks for being my friend and a part of my life.

LOVE the smile on Jack.