Wednesday, 15 October 2008

A confession

I really should have thought before I named this blog. Maybe the Rants of a Sleep-deprived Mother of a Not Quite Toddler would be more apt. My confession? Although we call T a toddler (in fact he is T for toddler) he's not walking yet.

I always thought that T would be an early walker. He was a very active baby, at points I thought he was going to try and kick his way out. I'd often see my bump rippling as he wriggled, and a small clenched fist or heel sticking out under my ribs. If I sat cross-legged with the laptop on my knee he'd bump it off. He was a teeny babe, a shade over seven pounds at birth, losing fifteen percent in the first few days. I was instructed to express my breast-milk and cup feed him at regular intervals, to ensure he was taking enough, holding a bottle cap to his lips and encouraging him to lap up the good stuff like a cat. The midwives raised an eyebrow when he pushed away the cup with his tiny newborn hands and turned his head.

At five months I put him down on a friend's floor, surrounded by toys, for tummy time and was agog when he bodypopped his way backwards on the floor, not hands and knees crawling, but pushing himself up on his hands and sliding his whole body until he had stranded himself under an armchair, plugged into the gap between chair and floor by the bulk of his big cloth nappied bum. A couple of weeks later he was crawling backwards, frustrated at moving away from his toys when he wanted to go towards them, and then by seven months he was not only crawling properly, but pulling up to stand and cruising around the furniture.

There is something so sweet about a crawling baby, especially one being chased. The crawling equivalent of looking behind you, laughing and running away makes my heart melt, and god has he got some speed on him!

So now we're in a sort of walking wasteland, the almost but not quite there. He can stand unaided, wobbling a bit but showing just how strong those little legs are. In fact the other day I had a very bad mother moment. He took a packet of baby crisps out of my changing bag, secreted there for distraction whilst we're out and about, and started eating them, holding the bag with one hand and the crisps with the other, and therefore not holding on to anything else. I wanted to see how long he could really stand for, so I left him to it, although I regretted it when he'd eaten his way through the whole bag, chucked the crumbs on the floor, dropped to his hands and knees and crawled off, trailing carrot coloured fingerprints behind him. He adores his wooden truck, although now he's learnt to stand in it and expect pushing rather than pushing it himself, and when we visit friends with little girls he will happily toddle along pushing a toy buggy. If you hold one finger he'll totter quite happily, but the next step has been just slightly out of reach for what feels like a very long time now!

Still, calling him a baby seems incongruous now, so T the toddler he will be for now, whether he can walk or not.

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