Winnie Grows Up

Winnie is growing up.  She’s growing up and out, around and over, this way and that.  Just as when I was pregnant, and my body changed without my direction, relaxing smooth muscle tissue, realigning my spine, increasing my blood volume, Winnie grows exactly as she should, in precisely the right order and amount, every moment of every day.  She is the world’s foremost expert on my very favorite topic, The Development of Winifred Eleanor.

Nothing is linear.  Once she’s conquered a milestone— sitting up, say, or crawling a few steps or pulling up to standing—  she’ll quietly put it away, never retracing her steps in exactly the same way, only to return to the task days later, having run through every iteration of how to get from point A to point B, and then— and only then— she’s off to the races.image

For weeks now, she’s been able to move by some sort of shapeshifter-y magic, scooting a smidge to the left and then to the right, dropping on her belly and rolling one way and then another, pushing off of her crib or a wrinkle in the rug or some such.  She would get up on her knees and rock and rock and rock and holler out in frustration when something was just out of her reach.  She crawled backwards a few times, crawled two whole steps another, and managed to do what she needed to do when she needed to do it.  We remained certain she was on the cusp of crawling at any moment, not because we thought she was due on the developmental calendar, but because she seemed to be signaling its imminence (and with it, our long overdue need to babyproof.)

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Blurry babe on the move!

For the last few days, she’s been crawling in earnest to anything she needs, and just as soon as she had begun to crawl, she started sitting herself straight up from laying on her belly and from all fours— just like that.  It was all very grand and exciting for Mike and me, but all in a day’s work for Winnie.

Saturday evening we all gathered on the play mat in the nursery to get the wiggles out before finishing up our bedtime routine.  Winnie got her daily gallop around the room on mama’s back (so many giggles!), and Mike situated a basket of toys between the two of us in the hopes of catching more of that magical crawling action.  Winnie did indeed crawl— right up to the basket of toys where she plucked a singular stuffed animal from within, and then over to her bookshelf to pull off a soft owl bookend and a few graphic cards of farm animals.  She carried (dragged/pushed) both of these a few inches away to another basket of toys in the opposite corner of the room from where Mike and I sat.

And this— not the crawling or the sitting up or the amazing vocalizations that she makes every day— is why I feel compelled to note that Winnie is growing up.  Because she grinned a great two and half tooth grin at the both of us before turning her back to us for a good twenty minutes of exploring her toys— rolling a ball back and forth, knocking over her owl and then picking it back up, holding a high-contrast pig high above her head and letting out a squeal, knocking two blocks together again and again.  She was so glad we were there, but she certainly didn’t need us to play— and she felt secure enough in her attachment to us to play and play and play by her very own self, going at her own pace and exploring with her own agency.  Every now and then she would turn and crawl to the bookshelf to pull off another book, taste it, and turn it about in her hands.  She shot us a few looks and giggled with joy when she did, and as my heart swelled to nearly bursting, I realized how very much it has grown in the months since we met this tiny human.

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I’ve always been a person who has lived quite a bit in the past and a fair amount in the future, and nothing has so effectively moved me into the present like our family of three.  Save some late night moments spent poring over sweet photos of our just-born baby, I don’t want Winnie to do anything but grow exactly as she is.  When we lay down to sleep at night (after rocking Winnie alllll the way to sleep— quelle horreur!), I could mourn that we’ll never have another day like it, or hope that tomorrow she’ll knock out a new milestone, unlock some new talent— or I could just be grateful for the fact that time moves at the same speed as it always did and that it always will, regardless of how quickly it might seem when I’m with her and how slowly it might seem when I’m not— just with exponentially more giggles and snuggles and other excellent things ending in -ggles (wiggles? Fraggles? boondoggles?) than before.

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