Friday, June 08, 2007

Baby Steps (and I don't mean that in the cutesy metaphorical sense)

I’ve been saving this Van Gogh painting for months thinking it would be fun to post on the day Nora started walking. My older 3 sons all started walking when they were about 10 months old. Nora (current age: 13 months) must be on an entirely different time table. It’s not that I’ve been anxious for her to walk but I have been puzzled by her complete disinterest in the whole process. She cruises around holding onto furniture or someone’s hand, but if you gently suggest she stand on her own, she immediately plops down on her bum and launches off into a speedy crawl.

Last night I was playing the piano with Nora on my lap (who knew Mozart had such a fondness for dissonance?). Finally, when I'd had enough of her colorful "accidentals" and extra flourishes on the keys, I set her down next to the piano. I assumed she would grab onto my leg or the piano bench for balance. Instead, she steadied herself in a standing position and trotted over to Ethan who was sitting on the couch – 4 or 5 steps away. Shocked and amazed, Ethan and I got into “walk to me baby!” positions on the floor and let her march back and forth between us a few times. Then (when it was obviously not a fluke but a genuine, bona fide Milestone Moment) we ran to get her Dad and the video camera.

Apparently Nora has been holding out on us. Ethan says she must have been practicing walking in her crib in the middle of the night. Maybe she’s just a perfectionist and wanted to get it right before unveiling her talent instead of embarrassing herself, as all my other children did, with that prolonged drunken sailor phase. Maybe she’s just a cautious child and had to build up the confidence to walk even though she’s had the strength for months. Maybe she had the power all along but just didn’t realize it (ah, there’s a Dorothy and her ruby slippers metaphor in there somewhere).

I’m amused by her new trick, but I’m also more than a little sad. She’s my last baby and now she’s not a baby anymore. She’s officially a toddler. Is it weird that I don’t want her to stay in the helpless infant stage but at the same time I don’t want her to step away from it? I feel excited. I feel strangely remorseful. I feel confused. I feel old.

12 comments:

Dedee said...

I love reading your posts. I especially like the idea of her practicing in the crib at night while everyone else was sleeping.

I sometimes find it very difficult to want my children to grow up too.

I feel like this is a very lame response, but I can't exactly put into words what I am feeling right now. Pathos? Ethos? Nostalgia? No word that I can think of really works.

Andrea said...

Yea for walking. I agree it's exciting, yet sad.
I wonder what else these children practice in their cribs. lol.

Luisa Perkins said...

I experience the feelings you expressed in your final paragraph all the time.

I don't know what I'll do when I have to put #5 on the school bus for the first time. Fortunately, I've got a couple of years before that happens.

Miscellaneous-Mum said...

I know what you mean. My little guy is 14 months now, and he's just started to (fake) jump and even run - so much quicker than his sister - and it's breaking me up!

What a great little story for you though. Congrats for Nora

Geo said...

I love that she's been practicing on the sly. Ha! What a tender post.

An Ordinary Mom said...

"I feel excited. I feel strangely remorseful. I feel confused. I feel old." I have felt a lot of these same emotions lately.

We would like to have more kids, but I am not sure if we will be able to. It is hard for me to think that I might be experiencing some of my lasts already. Hopefully this won't be the case.

marinamo said...

Not weird at all--and it won't be the last time you feel this way (as I'm sure it's not the first). You think you feel old now; just wait till she's taking the SAT and filling out college applications... Every stage has great things in it and the key is to figure out what those are before the stage passes and enjoy them to the fullest because every stage also passes by.

The Lazy Organizer said...

Congratulations Nora! I don't envy your Mother all the new kind of messes you will be making with your inceased freedom. I have my own to worry about!

Klutzmom said...

Aaaah, Julie,
You feel old? How do you think I feel now that my "baby" has graduated from Law school. I'm officially an antique.

The verse in Ecclesiastes 3:1 is really appropriate. "To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: . . . ."

I thought I never wanted to leave the having babies stage of motherhood but passed through all the other seasons and survived.

Grandmother season is the best!!!

Shalee said...

Ugh. Another milestone that you can't help but encourage, but then hate it when it happens. My girl will start middle school next year; I'm so not ready for that. She was just a cute little bugger asking for juice and cookies a little bit ago...

I hear your pain. And I'm sorry that it's the way of the world sometimes.

Goslyn said...

Ah Julie, I totally understand. My youngest, and most likely my last, is only one month old and already I am mourning his ridiculously fast growth rate.

They grow up too fast. Way too fast.

Jenna said...

This is so eloquently stated, Julie. We all go through these stages. Parenthood is bittersweet, isn't it? I never imagined it would melt my heart one minute and then tear it to pieces the next. My baby is getting ready to walk too and I'm not happy about it! Well, I am, but...