Beanie believes she is indestructible. She is not alone. All children at the beginning of toddle age seem to have that belief. Nothing scares them at all. Its only really after the first few bumps as they topple over when they begin to figure out that certain actions are likely to result in a further little bump.
Beanie is into climbing at the moment. Chairs prove no obstacle. Cushions or Boos toys lying in the floor are merely a delaying factor and nothing to stop her progress. Daddy is actually quite a useful scaffold in order to get to the next level! But the concept of what goes up must come down is, naturally enough, alien to her. As a result if you look away for a minute you are likely to return your gaze to a one year old balancing on the edge of a bean bag, heading over the arm of the sofa or weaving her way through the legs of the chairs. D’ Better Half and myself are getting quite good at the last minute dive across and grab of the babygro to stop Beanies late night breaks for freedom.
She’s not quite walking yet. The crèche refers to what she does as Cruising. It’s that tottering along using chairs, walls, tables, and people for support that toddlers start off with. Beanie is F1 level at this movement. She starts at one side of the room and before you can say “Rubens Barrichello” she has manoeuvred herself around the sides of the objects and people to get over beside the TV. Then she stands there, three inches from the screen, staring at the characters moving around. Of course it didn’t take very long for her to realise that the button in the corner with the light on it, when pressed caused these people to vanish and Daddy to curse loudly as the 6/1 shot jumping the last fence in the lead disappears from view before he can see it! It’s a mixture of pride that she has figured this out and pure terror when you see the delight in her smile as she basically laughs at her Auld Fella having his telly viewing disrupted again. Saturday mornings quiet is frequently disrupted with cries from Boo that “she’s turned off the cartoons again, Daddy!”
The teeter totter of balancing is next on her agenda and she looks at you first with delight as she lets go of the walker with both hands and balances for seems like an eternity but is in reality a few moments. The delight turns to surprise as she realises her legs are not holding out and then shock as the cushioning of her nappy makes contact with the floor. Not that it stops her at all a few more attempts and you think she is definitely getting the hang of it. Her birthday recently brought the delivery of a Princess Chair and she has decided it is much more fun and exciting to stand on that and balance. Fun for her? Yes. Not for me.
I can see what she doesn’t see. The crash. The crying. The realisation that the crying hasn’t stopped. The dawning that a trip to the doctors is required. Of course none of that ever happens, but that’s how you react when you see them taking these chances.
The key to managing this is to remember at all times that she isn’t going to do herself any damage. To remind yourself that you are actually watching her very carefully and that the taking of these risks is all a part of her growing up. As long as you make sure sharp edges and dangerous objects are out of the way then the likelihood is that the worst injury will be to yourself as you overreact and overreach to try and grab her.
And when you do and wind up lying on the floor beside her, with those eyes looking down at you and the smile breaking into laughter, that’s when you realise that this is all a great big game to her. She just wants to get walking as quickly as she can. Then it will be running. And all the time she has her big sister to chase so there is urgency to this progression in her mind.
For as long as that hunger to catch up is there she will push herself to progress. And daddy will watch each step nervously, but also with pride.