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End Life

Yesterday I commented to another Grad Student that I knew that my life was over when Gwen became mobile. That actually isn’t true upon further thought but there were some aspects of her growth thus far that have been, what I call, “Life enders.” Once these various thresholds were reached the world was now different. I couldn’t go through my daily routine as i had been used to anymore because of this change. Somehow life didn’t change as much as I thought it would previously but since people like list format here they are in order.

Birth: Obviously this was the big one. No longer could I recklessly pursue things anymore I actually had some responsibility over a thing that could not take care of itself. Although in retrospect it seemed more like she was a new roommate than anything else. She just slept alot, ate more frequently but less in amount, produced more dirty dishes than I was used to, ate weird food, and had tiny tiny clothes. She cried alot too, but it spoonful of mush usually quieted her down.

Rolling: Up until the rolling phase Gwen’s life pretty much rotated between Laura holding her and myself holding her. Once in awhile we’d lay her on the ground for “tummy time” in order to prevent some misshaping of the head or something I really can’t remember but she hated it. When I would go to the kitchen, or do dishes, or go outside, or do something that required my movement it was this large ordeal. I had to figure out where to put her and then do it. Then one day, out of busyness, laziness, and frustration I just said “screw it” and laid her on the middle of the floor. Lo and behold it worked and a new day was dawn. The day where I realized just how incapable of doing anything she was. She had the strength to move herself forward but she didn’t know how to do it. Then one day I laid her on the floor, went to the kitchen, came back and she was gone! For five seconds I was terrified and then I realized that she couldn’t get far. I heard her under the couch, where she rolled. Laura, being home at the time just laughed and clapped because Gwen learned to roll around. I knew that now I would actually have to pay attention to her when I was doing other things.

Crawling: Then again, rolling isn’t so bad. Because all you have to do is put two large barriers on either side of her and she is trapped. Back to watching tv for me! Place her on a large blanket, two large pillows on one side, the wall on another, and she would giggle herself to a frenzy, or cry herself to a frenzy or whatever. No danger=baby learning. The only trouble is that when Baby gets bored she learns new things like how to move vertically. I was there when she first crawled, it was cute because I was trying to teach her. Now however the “floor plan” doesn’t work exactly as with great effort she can get over the pillows. Although she wasn’t exactly a ninja about it, and grunted like a flabbergasted old man at the gas pump. Normally she would get to the end of a wall and i would just pick her up, turn her around and she would go the other way.

Walking: the difference between walking and crawling isn’t in mobility, it’s in competence. After a while Gwen got pretty good at crawling, so much so that things she knocked over were knocked over on purpose. I began calling her “The Hurricane,” not after the storm but after that shitty Denzel Washington movie that left movie theaters as desolate wastelands. There are many pictures of her going through a room just knocking stuff over as if to say, “because I can.” However, it’s really hard to be bad at crawling. Even if you fall down you don’t have very far to go and it’s almost impossible to generate the speed necessary to hurt yourself while crawling. Walking is different. No one, ever, works as hard at anything as a baby does at learning to walk. If adults had to work that hard at something it wouldn’t get done. The problem is that Gwen’s learning to walk was associated with falling. No longer could I pretend that she was going to be ok, she wouldn’t be. Falling is easy because gravity is default. And for some reason babies always fall toward corners. When she was stumbling around like a drunk at 4am everyone had to watch. Because they watched she had to wave and show off. After awhile though the fear of collision abates and you just have to make sure she isn’t going anywhere you don’t want her to. For the most part a closed door will do.

Opening Doors: Until today. Normally when it was nap time I would close the door in her room and listen to her talk for an hour or so. Then quiet. Today I heard a peculiar noise that i attributed to the cat. Then I turned a corner and saw the little monster running back through the hallway and into her room. I closed the door, I always close the door for the reason that I want her to sleep and I can do dishes, study, or write pointless blog posts. Remember in Jurassic Park when the Raptors figured out how to open the doors, that’s how I felt when I saw her. This is when the life really ends, she is not only mobile but can surmount obstacles. Good job you little monster you’ve just made nap time a surprise.

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