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February 4, 2014

Kali Davies-Anderson: Daughter’s first steps no walk in the park

NEW CASTLE — Last week, my 9-month-old took her first steps.

While this is a really great accomplishment and as a mother I am very proud, as caretaker I realize that things in the Davies-Anderson house are about to get real.

When babies are first born they want to be held constantly. They make no attempts at independence and while this is exhausting, in some ways it is also easy.

Around 4 or 5 months old they begin to really explore the world around them and it’s so darned cute, isn’t it?

But, then, around 6 or 7 months old babies become much more curious about their environment. You must eliminate all shiny and beaded objects from your person before holding them, sending out a quick text message while giving them a bottle is no longer possible and they cry ferociously when a person that they fancy walks out of the room, or sometimes even when they make eye contact with another person in the room.

Somewhere around 8 months or so many babies begin to crawl.

This stage is very cute. They learn to go after things that they want and the smacking sound of their tiny knees and palms hitting the living room floor is enough to make even the most villainous heart melt.

Sometimes, however, this crawling stage is short lived and soon you have a walker (or two) on your hands.

When my first daughter started walking, she was 12 months old and made no attempts at catching herself when she began to fall. She often went from completely upright to flat on her face or back in a matter of seconds. This, of course made it very difficult to allow her to learn to walk effectively.

It took about two months, but finally she was becoming a proficient walker, and what a surprise I was in for.

I thought I had “baby-proofed” my home. I put covers on all of the outlets, removed choking hazards and fragile objects from within her reach, put stops on drawers and cupboards with dangerous chemicals and installed a gate at the bottom of my steps. 

This notion of being able to make your home “baby-proof” is all well and good, but in actuality it is literally impossible to do. Children are excellent at looking outside of the box, and exemplary at turning everyday household objects in hazardous weapons.

Violet was not a wild child by any means, but very good at getting things she was not allowed to have.

She was also amazingly good at finding things that I didn’t even know existed in my home. One day I went into my kitchen to get her a drink of water, and when I came back she had dumped an entire bottle of baseball glove oil on my living room floor and was “ice skating” in it. I had never seen it before in my life and neither had my husband.

Then there was the time I found her chewing on a crayon, one that she hadn’t had for around seven hours. I could not figure out how she got it until I realized that she had stockpiled several crayons up her sleeve when I had allowed her to color at lunchtime.

I often find myself visually scouring the background environments of movies and TV shows that have children in them, noticing that they have not “baby proofed” their fictitious homes.  I am becoming a safety tyrant and it still is not good enough.

I guess a lot of grace comes along with raising children, in addition to diligent monitoring, and perhaps it is laughable (to the babies and toddlers of the world) that we even try.

 

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