I'm starting to get a sense of what I am in for from LO. While he is still weeks or months away from stepping on churches in New York City and covering much of downtown with a thick coating of marshmallow goodness, he is nonetheless starting to flex his chaotic muscles. For instance, last night J had LO seated on his lap at the kitchen table when LO grabbed at the handle of the full mug of tea sitting on said table and pulled it toward himself. I'm never particularly articulate in moments of imminent chaos, and only managed to bark out "Ah-be-bup-bup-bup-aaaahh!" Luckily, J and I have been together long enough that he understands EGB speak, and he got the tea away from the boy before any damage could be done. (This is not the first time that words have failed me in such a situation. I once pulled a friend from the street she was about to cross with only the word "DEATH!" because I couldn't seem to manage the clearer "There's a car coming.")
I'm concerned about the future for three reasons: 1. LO is a baby, and they are known for getting themselves into a whole mess of things, particularly once they become mobile, a day which is rapidly approaching for LO. 2. LO is completely fearless, which is both awesome and worrisome. 3. LO's father is my dear husband J, who has more ridiculous stories--about surviving driving his mother's Ford Taurus off a cliff (it got stuck), falling off a bike going 45 miles per hour, and getting into a street brawl because of a roommate who didn't know better than to keep his mouth shut--than any other individual I know. (How he ended up with a bookish indoorsy type, I'll never know.)
Let's look at these concerns one by one, shall we?
1. LO is right on target with a lot of the baby things I've been expecting. If anything is within arm's reach, it goes into his mouth or is banged against whatever piece of furniture is closest. As of right now, we're able to control what it is that's within arm's reach. But I anticipate it will be more difficult to prevent unpleasant things from going in his mouth in just a few months. I've thought about putting down a hygienic floor covering made up entirely of detachable teethers, pacifiers, letter links and stuffed toys, but I can't figure out how to keep the animals off of it. And then there's the issue of portability. I doubt I could carry the floor with me wherever I went, which would be my preference--and even if I could, I'd also be stuck re-hygienizing the damn thing every time we went somewhere, and it's probably just easier to keep an eye on the kid. I guess there's still no invention that relieves us of the responsibility of vigilant parenting.
LO has not yet started crawling, mostly because he is completely disinterested in being on his belly. I have not been as diligent at giving him tummy time as I probably should have been, but this kid has some pretty awesome muscle definition already (thanks, B side of the family!) and has never had issues holding up his head even when he was doing quite a bit of head bobbing. So that's my rationalization and I'm sticking to it. In any case, as soon as this little guy figures out that he is capable of transporting himself from place to place ("It's Magic!") it's only a matter of time before animals run in terror and knick-knacks quake in their ceramic bases. Who knows how far off that day is. Until then, I'll enjoy the relative calm of knowing objects remain where I leave them.
2. At my sister-in-law's wedding a few years ago, there were several adorable tots who really made me look forward to having children. The wedding was held at a sleep-away camp with a real old-fashioned swimming hole. One little girl who was still in diapers would jump from the diving platform into her daddy's waiting arms below, squealing with delight over and over. Her father, when asked about her fearlessness, remarked that children learn their fear from their parents. Since she knew she could trust her daddy and he wasn't afraid for her, she delighted in jumping from the diving platform. I was really taken by that, since I tend to be a worrier by nature.
LO is so far showing some completely fearless tendencies. For example, he loves to be held upside down. Nothing makes him laugh harder than being inverted and then having Mom or Dad blow a raspberry on his belly. He will actually squirm around in your lap to make it clear that he wants to be held upside down. But this kid is a little unclear on the effects of gravity and tends to pull his squirmy, flailing, happy boy routine while held upturned. On the one hand, I LOVE that he trusts us so much. Go us. On the other, AAAAAAAAHHH! (See worrier by nature, previous paragraph.)
I'd like to raise the sort of kid who doesn't think through all the possible things that could go wrong before trying something. There were many things I didn't do as a kid because I was afraid. (Having a vivid imagination didn't really help matters, because not only could I come up with the typical things that could go wrong, but I also managed to think of remarkably unlikely things that could happen. Like what if a coyote came and ate me on my walk to the school bus and all my parents found of me were my glasses and book bag? It could happen, despite the fact that I grew up in suburban Maryland.) That being said, I really don't want to raise one of those Evel Kneivel children who tries to construct a parachute out of a bed sheet and throws himself off the roof. "It seemed like a good idea at the time" are words that no parent ever wants to hear come from the mouth of her babe.
3. This brings me to my co-parent. J is an excellent father. He is always willing to do what it takes to make LO laugh. He is diligent and affectionate and funny. He is also the person who, upon meeting my youngest cousin for the first time, got into a discussion of how to create a DIY flame thrower. (To be fair, J was looking at my other cousin's car engine with Theo's help and explaining how engines work. J asked Theo if he had ever created such a flame thrower, knowing it was likely he had, so that Theo could understand the innards of an internal combustion engine). I trust J completely, but I also know that he is a fan of all things fast and fiery. I have learned the music of car engines from him, but I still don't really get the pull of driving fast on curvy roads. I have a sneaking suspicion LO and J will share some loves that I will find worrisome. I take comfort in the fact that J has survived to age 33 with no major mishaps--despite the cliff, bicycle fall and street brawl.
All in all, I think it is likely that our LO will go from crawling to motorcycle riding without the intermediary step of walking. I plan on putting all my fragile heirlooms someplace safe at that time. Like, I don't know, in a safe deposit box. On the moon. Orbiting Jupiter. But, as long as LO is destroying things and not hurting himself, he can smash as many plates and step on as many churches as he wants.