This week, Gabe finally left behind the baby-potato stage for good: he started crawling. This, in conjunction with his new diet involving solid foods, has forced me to reconsider my offspring. No longer is he just an infant, a squalling lump with a propensity for pooping through his clothing, but he’s a baby on the inevitable track to toddler and child.
It’s just one of the many facets of baby development, but crawling feels like a giant milestone to me. Since before Thanksgiving, Gabe has been getting on all fours and rocking back and forth. As he rocked, he would grump at the floor, grunting and yelling. Sometimes he’d get really excited and end up in the downward dog yoga pose, which is perfect for even more floor castigation.
We tried to help. We’d sit a few feet away and gesture for him to come to us; he’d drop to his stomach and flail until we’d pick him up. We crawled in front of him in the hopes that he might mimic us. No such luck, the only mimicry he’s exhibited is an unerring aim for the caps lock button on my laptop keyboard. We’d strip him down to his onesie, giving his knees and feet better grip on the carpet; he’d give us the stink-eye and stay put. His preferred method of locomotion was to spin in circles on his stomach, lazily crossing the living room in pursuit of the dog. When he started sitting himself up, we started wondering if he’d just move to standing and walking.
But then this week, it started happening. An enthusiastic mish-mash of army crawling, floor-humping, and actual crawling now propels my son wherever his little troublemaker heart desires. Those desires seem to lead him most often to the dog’s feet (which he touches gently until she pulls them away) or, of all things, the welcome mat by our front door, which goes in his mouth as soon as he reaches it. He’s not limited to rugs and pets, however. He’s also put shoes and power cords (unplugged!) in his mouth, and tried to crawl under the sofa.
The saving graces of his household explorations are his mannerisms. He’ll be in the next room, and it will get eerily still. The quiet is then broken by what sounds like an overexcited pug, but is actually the baby panting with glee at having achieved the welcome mat. Or he’ll squeal to himself as he pats a pleasing texture (he’s obsessed with the weave of his toy basket).
As he explores, he always looks back to me. Even if it’s just a quick over-the-shoulder glance and smile, he is always in an irregular orbit around mama. He may venture out, but I am always there to reel him back in or rescue him, whether it’s from bumping his head or pushing the dog’s limits. Now if you’ll excuse me, that kid is back on the welcome mat, and I have to remove it from his face again.