Emmalee started crawling at just over ten months old. When she finally made some forward progress I was thrilled, despite the sudden need to baby proof the house. My baby was growing up before my eyes, tasting independence for the first time. She could now explore on her own, without the constant need for Mommy to help entertain her. It was an exciting time.
Now though, a little more than two months later, the novelty is wearing off and I’m ready to move on to the next phase. Crawling has its limitations. For one, it involves Emma’s hands and knees touching the floor, which is not always the cleanest thing. At home I have some control over the floor’s cleanliness (though I am admittedly not a huge fan of sweeping and mopping), but Emma is not content to crawl just at home. She wants to crawl no matter where we are, the mall, Sea World, Twistee Treat, and the cleanliness of these surfaces leaves something to be desired. Not to mention the looks people would give me if I allowed her to travel on all fours in public. While holding my squirming-to-get-free child I find myself thinking, “Would you just learn to walk already?!”
Emma seems to share my sentiment as she has spent the past week or so insisting that we practice this new skill. Which, unfortunately for my back, means stooping over and holding her hands while she toddles along precariously. She wants to do this all the time, regardless of our location, which wouldn’t be so bad really except for two things. One, she moves pretty slowly. But even that could be tolerated. What is most frustrating is her tendency to spot any little germ-covered price sticker, string, or scrap of paper and stoop down to pick it up. If I try to stop this she goes into tantrum mode. I tend to go with my instinct of spoiling her rotten and avoiding a scene by giving in and allowing her to do what she wants (see my blog on discipline). Luckily for me she rarely tries to put foreign objects in her mouth, but I still feel compelled to attack her with wipes once we leave the store and the object is discarded. This latest development has made shopping a whole new and much more challenging experience.
Fortunately, though, all the practice Emmalee has been doing appears to be slowly paying off. She is moving her feet a little quicker and her balance is improving. She has gone from needing a death grip on both my hands to being able to hold just one finger on one hand and still walk successfully. I’ve even gotten her to take two or three steps completely on her own before falling into my arms. She’s almost there. I believe that at this point the only thing holding Emma back is her own fear and general stubbornness. She likes the security of holding on to me, and she also probably enjoys the power trip of getting me to succumb to her whims.
So she’s making progress, but not quite walking yet. Hopefully this new skill doesn’t end up falling into Emma’s “No Thanks” category along with holding her own bottle, drinking from a sippy cup, and allowing a single drop of regular milk to pass her lips. That child can be so difficult.