Leo’s walking. The spectacle resembles a high wire act, complete with flailing arms and the inevitable return to the earth. Or perhaps the effect is better likened to that of a clown riding a unicycle on a tightrope, since Leo wobbles around with an enormous, goofy, open-mouthed grin, shouting “aaaaaaaaaaaa,” as he goes.
As my mother points out, the walking is clearly most exciting because it’s such an efficient way of carrying things. A wooden snail. Two shoes. A snack and a sippy cup. A toy train so heavy he has to alternately drag and lift it. The novelty of walking seems to be that it frees up the hands for their ultimate purpose of taking something or other from here to there.
The whole drunken, reeling act is fraught with peril. Already Leo’s earned the first round red egg on his forehead, and made all of us gasp a hundred near-miss times as he loses his equilibrium, speeds up and lunges towards his destinations. My dad calls him a toppler, rather than a toddler. All told, this walking business is pretty earth shaking for all of us.
Like most of the big and small moments in his life, Leo is celebrating this one by going on sleep strike. Yes, it’s a little annoying when he’s exhausted and refusing to nap, but this time, I can really understand. Or at least, I think I can. I mean, walking is big. He’s (relatively) high off the ground, freewheeling, capable of all sorts of new experiences from this vantage point, and he’s gotten a taste of the independent life—no handholding needed.
I remember how people told me to nap while Leo slept back when he was a newborn. I would nap this very moment if anyone told me to! But then? Well I’d just had a baby! I was hopped up and I’d spend Leo’s naptimes cleaning, emailing, talking on the phone or looking at pictures of the baby. Who could nap at a time like that?
Then, Leo was my thrilling new responsibility. Now, as he stands up wide awake in his crib screeching “mamamamamamama” after just a few minutes of sleep, I realize that, for the first time, my baby has his own clear agenda. He’s walking and he has places to go. Who am I to stand in the way?
Instead of angsting about missed naps, I’m catering. True, the strawberry French toast breakfast-in-bed I made for Aaron on Father’s Day didn’t get eaten in bed because Leo was up screeching and pounding on the bedroom door when he should have been napping. But this exuberant, irrational creature is also a very appreciative diner these days. Sitting down to enjoy our French toast as a family of three, I didn’t need to be reminded to enjoy the little everyday moments of our life. There do seem to be a lot of them though.
Strawberry French Toast