Mar
13
2010

  William Went Upstairs

This afternoon, Terry handed off responsibility for William while I was eating a sandwich for lunch. William was crawling around on the dining room floor. Terry went upstairs to his studio to work.

William didn't stay in the dining room with me for long; he crawled into the hallway and when I didn't hear him anymore, I took my sandwich and went to investigate. William was already on the second stair leading to the second floor.

I didn't disturb him, I was curious to see what he was up to. He chose to go up the stairs of his own volition-- Terry was long gone, and I was sitting in the dining room when he made his choice.

William climbed up the stairs quite impressively. He didn't put his knees on the next stair to get up, he would first put his left foot on the next stair, then use his muscles to lift his body up until he could get the right foot up. This amazed me, since the stair was at the level of his thigh. It would be as if I decided to climb up terraces 3.5' high by stepping onto them instead of climbing onto them. Which I might choose to do if there were only one, but surely would not do if I faced a veritable mountain of terraced steps.

As he went further up the stairs, I stood closer and closer behind him. I didn't want him to fall too far and hurt himself, but neither did I want to interfere with his progress. He looked back once or twice, and I just smiled and asked him where he thought he was going. In response, he turned around and continued his ascent.

When he reached the top of the stairs, he crawled like he was on a mission-- straight through the sewing room, the laundry room, and then to the glass door of Terry's studio. There he pulled himself to standing and started banging on the door. It's a good thing I'm not that sensitive, William shows me time and time again that he'd rather be with Terry than with me. But I don't mind so much since it's no wonder-- Terry indulges the boy's every wish when he's caring for William, while I prefer to kick back and read a magazine or knit or something while William plays nearby. I'm not nearly as interactive as Terry. Not surprisingly, Terry complains about how high-maintenance William is, and me and the other mothers who witness his behavior just shake our heads.

I had finished my sandwich during William's long climb up the stairs, so I stayed in the laundry room and folded clothes while I watched what William did next. Fortunately, he did not continually bang on the glass door and cry for Terry (that has happened in the past). Instead, he got distracted by the scrubby-tool that was on a shelf behind the laundry-sorting bin. He was also very interested in opening and closing the lid of the cardboard box full of OxyClean. He never made any attempt to get into the powder, so I let him play with the box in peace. But I kept a very close eye on him since I suspect that stuff is toxic if ingested. But Terry and I don't want to quash his curiosity without reason, so if he's into something borderline, we just watch him like a hawk and don't swoop in to intervene until he does something that is actually dangerous.

I can see that it's probably more important for a home to be "baby-proofed" when there are multiple kids underfoot. You never know when you'll have to run out of the room to address one emergency, leaving another kid to get into trouble while you're attending to the first. But with one kid, anything is reasonably safe as long as you're within arm's reach of him. Rarely will anything kill a kid instantly, you probably have from 30 seconds to several minutes to respond to most things, I'd guess. Falls are the one thing that happen quickly, which is why I followed him closely up the stairs, and moved the iron where he couldn't pull it down on his head while in the laundry room.

I think I'd like to see him climb up the stairs a dozen more times without incident before I let him climb up without following right behind him. I've been working with him, trying to teach him how to climb down stairs backwards for many weeks now, but he's shown no interest in doing this on his own yet. But Terry and I are keen to help him gain competence with this so we don't have to carry him every time we want to go to the other floor of the house. The boy is 22 pounds 6 ounces now. It might not sound like much, but it's way more than we care to carry around all day. Even just picking him up from the car seat and transferring him to a stroller when we go out, and then from a stroller to a high-chair and back is enough to wear me out on days I take him out with me. I generally have to repeat the car seat-to-stroller move several times when we go out, and I am eager for him to learn how to crawl out of the car seat by himself. Also I'd like him to learn how to crawl up and sit on his little baby potty. When we put his little pot on the floor, at least now he can sit there and do his business without us helping him keep his balance while seated. But he still hasn't shown any signs of being ready to climb onto the seat on his own.

But once he gets there, whoooo-hooo! All we have to do at that point is keep him naked on the bottom, wearing just a shirt, and leggings for warmth. Then he can crawl over to his pot whenever he needs it, and we only have to help him clean up. He will at that point be potty-trained. I had high hopes that he would be at that point by 7 months. But he wasn't crawling then. Now that he's crawling he still lacks the coordination to sit himself on the pot, but I don't think it will be long. Hopefully he'll be completely potty-trained within a few months. I've started converting his diapers into pull-ups already.

Great story. Watch out,

Great story. Watch out, William is mobile!

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