Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Of course we were warned.


Walking.

Of course we were warned.

"You're not prepared for all the dangers of the world."

After a frightening fever in mid-September, my son emerged walking. Just nine and a half months old, he rose up from crawling, using all those things that had just been things above him. Chairs toppled, vacuum knocked over. Things not worthy of use for escape, were tugged on and released from their perch - blankets draped over the crib made him an infuriating make-shift ghost costume, he hung wailing from sliding seat cushions like Wiley E. Coyote from the Grand Canyon's edge, sliding drawers zinged open and repelled a surprised baby backward.  I came to deeply appreciate the trash-picked dresser whose drawers are so stiff that one must bang them shut, slowly wearing down the dresser's innards and sending a dose of sawdust onto shirts and underwear at each opening.

Bruises, bumps, scratches.

My son glances up at me, smiles. Look at me. Yes, indeed, I'm looking at you - that's my other great occupation. My first occupation is looking after you.

Three and a half months later, he's climbing up the side of the bed and hanging from the covers like a furious koala bear. His foot does not reach the top of the bed, so his goal, to reach the top of the bed is thwarted. He's annoyed. For now. Next growth spurt, he's up.

Aha, I mean several hours later, he's up. He began the bed climbing project a couple weeks ago. As of this afternoon, he couldn't make it. As of this evening, he's up. Sure, it is dangerous, but primarily it is fantastic.

***

Of course we were warned.

"Babies put all kinds of things in their mouths."

Beren has not put too many awful things in his mouth. He always goes for metal or long objects for teething. Teething toys were ignored. Metal brackets on the baby gate - fine. Great Grandma's aluminum garlic press. Not good. Aluminum garlic press gets taken away and is piled on top of the scads of items precariously perched on the limited number of surfaces beyond my son's reach.

"How about this?" I ask and hand him a red, rubbery, water filled teething ring from the refrigerator. He looks at me, takes the ring, and drops it. We look at each other. "I wish he'd take the ring," I think. I try again. He looks at me, takes the ring, and drops it. I look at the ring. Honestly, I'd do the same if someone handed me a red, rubbery, water filled teething ring from the refrigerator. In fact, I might not even accept the ring. At least my son is polite.

Realizing, his mother has not met his needs, he opens a kitchen drawer, which holds his stash of parent-approved utensils. He reaches for the Oxo spatula, a shower gift from my in-laws, and jams the handle into his mouth. Unlike the red, rubbery, water filled teething ring from the refrigerator, which may have endured extensive testing (doubt it - what is that water anyway?) and adheres to US Consumer Safety Product Safety Commission (check the link for a very nerve-wracking slideshow, a la Yahoo! News) regulations the Oxo spatula did not undergo child safety testing and has no safety features other than a very high melting point. Thus, the spatula works well - it reaches his molars.

I found an interesting pdf document - the US Consumer Product Safety Commission Engineering Test Manual for Rattles. On August 21, 1978 a safety regulation for rattles was developed - I made it through my babyhood which occurred before this regulation. My son has a rattle that probably did undergo this testing. The rattle is plush and the handle floppy. The bell is uninteresting sounding. Occasionally Beren bites into the handle. To me, it appears he is annoyed at the rattle. In his infancy, he latched onto the rattle's nose feature, which is the color and shape of a small nipple.

Bored with Oxo spatulas and floppy rattles, he ambles to oak desk, opens the drawer, and begins to gnaw on it.


***

On the trail at Lord Stirling Park, before my son could walk, he liked to be carried belly down.

Of course we were warned.


"Kids pick up all kinds of things." 

The flu at the doctor's office, your bad cursing habit, discarded gum on the sidewalk...

We frequent the woods more than the doctor's office and city sidewalks, and well, that cursing habit is another story... So, we haven't gotten the flu or chewed anyone else's gum.

Observing how much my son enjoyed walking on trail boardwalks at the Cook Natural Area, I decided to take him to the pond where our landlord placed several boardwalks over wet areas. We walked across the planks several times - great fun.

After not observing my son very closely for a couple moments, I noticed him showing me something. "I've found something to show you," he says gesturally, stretching a hand towards me.

"Oh, what do you have? What are you showing to Momma?" Typically, he is fond of sticks, rocks, leaves.

My son had, however, picked up something else.

"Let go of the poop." I say loudly, my eyes wide. I step towards him, and grab his wrist. "Let go of the poop." He hangs on to the dry scat, presumably fox.

I begin to shake his wrist, "Let go of the poop. Let go of the poop. Let go of the poop!"

The poop flies out of his hand. I wonder what dried fox poop might have in it besides persimmon seeds and mouse pelvises. We begin the walk back to the house. I try to hustle him along, but he's happy to meander. I settle for making sure his hand doesn't go into his mouth before we wash hands.




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