Sunday, April 28, 2013

Crawl Space

I wish I would win the lottery. I wish I could afford to have an 8000 square foot house with lots of room for Michelle to crawl and wobble around without worrying about her bumping into, pulling down or getting into anything. In my small house there really isn't a room that has more than a couple of feet for her to move without getting into something. I'm constantly running to stop her before she can get hurt. Maybe I've been holding her back.

Up until now Michelle hasn't really "crawled" per se. Her version of crawling was more of a caterpillar scooch or worm wiggle with her just pulling herself along by her arms. Even at that she could move surprisingly quickly. She didn't seem to have any interest in crawling anymore at my place. She was more eager to get up on her feet and pulling up on everything in sight -- the ottoman, couch, shelves, anything in her path. She just sits and stands and sits and stands and falls and stands.

Then we were visiting at my sister's house (which is about three times the size of mine). We hadn't been there in a while. Michelle was on the floor in the living room. She was trying to get to my nephew Reggie and suddenly she CRAWLED PERFECTLY up on her knees as though she'd been doing it forever! "What the?!" I turned around and saw her crawling on her knees and I was in shock. "That's the first time she's done that!" I told them. "EVER!" Months ago she would get up on her knees and I'd think she was about to crawl but then she would just rock back and forth and then lay back down. She never seemed to get the concept of one knee in front of the other. She soon found that she could pull herself along the floor by her arms and since that was efficient enough for her she never bothered to use her knees. Now all of a sudden, given more room and the motivation of getting to Reggie, she was crawling like a pro.

I wish I had more crawl space for her. The biggest expanse of space in my house is the hallway or kitchen but there the ceramic tile would be uncomfortable for little knees. My living room is hardwood and though I have an area rug, the ottoman takes up a lot of it (and when she's on that rug all she does is pull up on the ottoman.) In her nursery she's surrounded by furniture to pull up on -- the crib, the change table, the bookshelves so there isn't really an area where she can just crawl.

After her crawling to Reggie and Shannon in the living room, I took her around the hallway, dining room and kitchen to practice her walking. To her little feet it must seem like a shopping mall or a football field at my sister's house compared to my little space. Now that the weather is nice I want to get Michelle a pair of shoes so we can practice walking outside too. They say it's best for babies to learn to walk barefoot but that only works for inside. Though I guess I can have her walk on the sand in my yard once it's warmer and not so damp. I will have to be careful to clean her feet off well before we come back in though because she enjoys chewing her toes. I'll have to get a pair of soft soled shoes for outside. I don't want to spend
too much when they'll only fit her a short time. I know in the olden days they used to have those hard soled white shoes for babies but these days the experts say that softer and more pliable is better. It's more comforable and also easier for them to learn to walk in something that grips the ground like feet rather than a hard sole with no tread that could be slippery. They also used to make shoes really high on the ankle but now experts say that's not good either and can hurt their ankles. My Mom thought that having Michelle walk on her feet too soon or jump in the jolly jumper too much might make her bowl legged. They say that that doesn't happen. Walking barefoot is good for them to develop their muscles. Apparently babies are born with completely flat feet and it's only by practicing walking that they start to develop an arch. I'm noticing a difference in Michelle's little feet with all her standing, walking and jumping.

I've heard that some babies never crawl that they go straight to walking. Other babies scooch along the floor on their bottoms rather than crawling on hands and knees. (My brother's youngest did that.) Every baby is different. They all want to move around and explore but they experiment in their own unique ways and find what feels comfortable for them. Perhaps now that Michelle has mastered crawling perfectly she'll be doing more of that. Crawling is less nerve-wracking than the standing and pulling up. I'm constantly afraid of her falling and hurting herself. Once she's walking I can imagine her running around my sister's place (as kids always do there, running in a loop around the kitchen, hallway, living room and servery.) I'll take her to parks with big fields of grass to run around in too. A great big space with nothing to bump into and a soft carpet of green grass to catch you if you fall.

My backyard isn't very practical for a baby. I never imagined when I was planning my tropical themed yard that one day I would have a baby in it. The sand is soft at least but there's no grass to run around on, just the flagstone patio and a big garden at the back. Years ago I hated the grass because it was becoming overrun with weeds and after a trip to the Dominican I was inspired to tear it all out and create my own little beach -- with a patio, sand and a tropical garden instead of grass. My boyfriend at the time indulged my fantasy and helped me create it. Had I known there would be a little girl learning to walk here someday I'd have left the grass, weeds and all, alone. (I also wouldn't have bought a convertible!) I was a single girl afraid of commitment. In a million years I never expected to be a Mom. This is the biggest commitment of my life. A child is the biggest commitment there is. Romances may fall apart and end in break-ups or divorce but a child is forever. No matter how old she gets, she'll always be my little girl.

You just never know what life is going to throw at you. It's strange because I always thought of myself as a control freak. I tried to plan everything and have no surprises and yet the greatest joy in my life, the best thing that ever happened to me -- my little Michelle -- took me by complete surprise and changed everything. The things that I thought I wanted or thought were so important fade in significance and she is all that matters to me now. Life's plot twists are what make it an adventure. If you knew exactly what each day would hold what fun would it be? These days every day is a surprise. I never know what Michelle is going to do next.


  1. Yeah for crawling!! What an exciting milestone!! It's sweet that she completely took you by surprise. Enjoy the crawling because IMO, it's the least stressful as far as potential injuries when it comes to mobility.

    1. Thank you! Yes I was shocked. It came out of nowhere. I thought she'd lost interest in crawling now that she just pulls up and stands all the time but then she suddenly got up on her knees out of the blue. She'll probably take her first steps at my sister's place too. I think she gets so excited seeing her cousins and enjoys all that room to move that it inspires her. & you're right -- Crawling is MUCH less stress-inducing!