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Baby steps

November 15th, 2003 · No Comments

I asked Enoch this week what new things his Natalie has learned to do. It was fun to read about her first steps and clicks. And it has been an exciting week for our little Elisabeth, who is just a month or so younger. With her fuzzy hair and babbling she seems very much a baby still yet she is beginning to grow and start to take steps, literally….

Weeks ago I bought her a simple walker. It looks a bit like a toy lawnmower with four blue wheels, a red handle and white shape sorter as a base.
“Walk,” I’d say, holding Elisabeth up and putting her hands on the walker.
But she’d just let go, drop to the carpet and crawl. Not interested.

Yesterday though, in the middle of the morning, I wanted to amuse Elisabeth and giver her some exercies, so I could help the other two girls with their exercises, sit-ups and stretches. I put Elisabeth on her walker, but this time, pronto, she started walking! Only hours earlier I had written Enoch that Elisabeth didn’t want to walk. And now she was making circles around the kitchen on the hardwood floor, pushing her walker and smiling with glee and speed.

Ted’s office is right off the kitchen, and it was great to knock on his door as she looped past him. He took a minute and came out to see the baby of the family go strolling by. We are blessed that Ted doesn’t miss too many moments.

She’s even started walking more when I hold her hand. For weeks now she’s only taken a step or two and then she’ll let go and crawl. But in the past day or so I’ve noticed that she wants to walk more. Tonight, when I asked her to come to me, she let go of the hamper she was holding on to, took a step and launched herself into my arms. I’m not sure that counts as a first step, sine she was pretty wobbly, but it’s fun to watch her learn.

Another thing Elisabeth’s started to do in the past week is to imitate her sisters practicing gymnastics. If I say “Somersault Elisabeth”, she’ll get into position, putting her hands and feet on the floor, lowering her head to look between her legs, ready to roll. Of course, her head’s still got a soft spot and she’s not strong enough to tumble. But it’s fun to gently help her flip. She laughs, happy at her accomplishment.

I’ve noticed ELisabeth has three kinds of smiles. She has a smile with her lips closed together, a bit feminine but also a bit “satisfied-with-myself” look. She also has a big toothy grin smile, when most of her seven choppers are visible, a happy time. When she’s so overjoyed, she can’t believe it, she has a huge open smile, ecstatic.

My baby girl and I also like to play games on the diaper changing pad. Now she automatically covers her eyes to play peek-a-boo with me. And we also play find-that-body-part “Touch your eyes, Elisabeth. Touch your nose….”

Maybe it’s just me, as busy mom of three now, but it seems to me that she gets in trouble, so to speak, more than the others did. She climbs up the sofa, climbs into the dishwasher, unpacks the cupboards and strews clothes across the hall. I don’t remember the other two doing these things, perhaps because I could watch them more, but I think too Elisabeth has her own ideas.

What’s fun about babies…well there are lots of fun things about babies…but what I like a lot is how unpredictable they are. Each one is wild and spontaneous, organic, growing in her own way. Each of our three girls has learned to crawl in a different way, at a different time. Although Elisabeth seems to be more like Abigail than Michaela in her walking development, she is certainly her own person.

It’s fun watching her explore and learn, and wondering what she will do next. It’s also amazing how babies can progress and grow overnight. Like with the walker – not wanting to do it one day, and then excelling at it the next. I’ve heard of babies who suddenly and spontaneously started walking and/or talking at sixteen months, or even later. Sometimes babies take tiny steps, inching their way towards a new activity, and sometimes they make leaps that surprise us all. Sometimes a baby step can be a big step.

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