|It's so cute until I wish he couldn't sometimes...|
Well, it finally happened. I wasn't sure how long I had with my relatively easy (but still plenty troublesome) non-ambulant baby, but just recently I made the decision to teach the little misfire to walk like a human.
When I saw he was ready and demonstrated some interest in the skill, I went out my way to do so with little training exercises as well as some good old tough coaching (aka not allowing him to crawl any more for half-hour periods knowing he'd still want to move and eventually keep his feet under him for over 3 steps). He fell a few times and got a few extremely minor ouchies that mommy predictably went crazy over, but he didn't seem to care much after a hug and/or a skylift or two.
The child is nothing if not determined, and he was able to tentatively put those little socks in front of each other more times as the days passed. After each trial run, I would squat down a bit further away before opening my arms for his approach, demanding that he be a bit more excellent to earn a spinning embrace every time. Eventually, he took his first extended sequence of drunken baby steps unassisted.
I felt a sense of satisfaction as I sat and watched baby DX toddle around like a freshly birthed antelope, knowing my work with him was a big part of him taking the literal first steps toward becoming a whole person.
I've been wondering what the fuck I was thinking ever since that day.
I forgot that the drawback to teaching a baby to walk is that he will then know how to walk, and he chooses to use his newfound powers of mobility for evil. Where before his busy little hands had the floor in them if he wanted to be independent, walking leaves his hands free for other, more nefarious purposes, like snatching a remote, knocking over beverages, and using his little multicolored plastic keys to swipe at doors in the hopes that it will open and unlock a whole new world for him to destroy. (Baby intelligence is so cute because it's usually wrong, but you can see where the connection comes from. I've seen a lot of those social media word pictures that fit that description.)
Gone are the days where putting something on a table meant it was secure. No more does he have to choose between holding an object I want and moving around way too much. The time where I did not have to step over a gate like some kind of giant illegal immigrant to get into my office is past.
Of course, everybody thinks that his walking is just the most amazing thing in the world, and people come from miles around to see it happen like they didn't believe it when they heard and just had to be sure. (I know I'd never seen a toddler walk before, I would have bought tickets to see that.) He likes the attention, and I suspect that's where his enjoyment of turning off TVs with the power button comes from. He likes to do it in the middle of something interesting to punish me for having the unmitigated gall to watch something besides him.
Walking has also led to a number of secondary abilities. He can almost run without falling in under 5 steps. My parents informed me after one of my vacations--um, his weekends with them that through some supervised infantgenuity, he figured out how to slither out of a playpen placed next to a bed by pulling himself up and out with the sheets. Why in the basement of hell they would sit there and allow him to devise a plan to escape a baby containment chamber with no resistance escapes me, but he evidently can do it. I guess I asked for a Tommy Pickles-style baby, and it appears that is what I have here.
Thinking back, wanting baby DX to walk so badly was a pretty dumb move on my part. In my opinion, he has too many skills at the moment and not enough idea how to use them in a way that is safe and low-maintenance. I feel like I taught a baby chimp to load and use a paintball gun, and my little monkey only makes slightly less of a mess than that with his new abilities. I guess it's for the best long term, tho. (I have a feeling that's not the last time I'm going to type that sentence.)