Has this ever happened to you?
Yesterday, while I slaved away over a post for you, my dear readers — and while my wife was in our bedroom on a conference call — my nine-month-old son was behind me on the floor, enjoying the company of a makeshift rattle fashioned out of a tape-sealed Cole Haan wallet box and a few hazelnuts.
That is, until he wasn’t.
When my wife finished her conference call she came downstairs and asked where the baby was. And as I couldn’t immediately spot him, we together went and searched for him, in the living room, in the kitchen, in the laundry room, behind curtains, under tables, beneath sofas, inside electronics cabinets… But he was no where to be found.
At first we thought this humorous: after all, a house has finite space, and we had but one level to search: all the doors were closed and the house is baby proofed, so he couldn’t have gotten far, we reasoned — so our inability to find him was, for a moment at least, a reflection of our own stupidity. Which we laughed at.
Until we were sure we’d exhausted every space on the first level of the house without finding the boy. At which point we got very nervous.
I started calling for him with more urgency, but couldn’t hear anything in response. Until, that is, my wife hushed me and strained to hear something that I wasn’t hearing at all: the movement of knees on a rug, an elbow pivoting off the ground somewhere.
The only problem was, that sound was coming from upstairs.
Now, our house has a two-tiered staircase that opens out onto the living room and kitchen, with the living room itself built with cathedral ceilings. And our nine-month-old can’t yet walk, try and try and try as he does. All of which factored into our thinking about the noise we were hearing upstairs.
So we took to the steps and tentatively made our way to the upper level — and were at once relieved and astounded to find the little tyke in his big brother’s room, munching on a Nerf bullet.
Because it turns out that sometime in the night, while he slept that beautiful baby sleep, he figured out the mechanics of crawling up the stairs.
Previously, he had been able to mount the first stair, but he would invariably fall off, bump his head on the runner beneath, and cry. Which we’d figured was like touching a hot stove or something and learning to fear fire — only in this case, he was to fear his own age-appropriate clumsiness. And gravity.
But some lessons just don’t take, and our intrepid 18 lb. explorer, by puzzling things through in his dreams, suddenly understood that if he kept his weight forward and well over his knees, he could adjust for the gravity that had previously confounded him. And quietly, without fanfare, he put his theory to action — and for his troubles was rewarded with a spongy mouthful of Nerf.
For our part, we were in many respects proud of the little guy. Beaming, even. Such initiative! Such quiet confidence! Such an adventurous spirit! Such self-starting precociousness! Such daring!
We smiled. And then we ran out immediately and bought a fucking gate.