Thursday, July 13, 2006

Confidence - L'il Walking Oliver

Many things happened while we were in Boston. There was the whole reason we were there, R's sister's wedding. It was beautiful, and small, and heartfelt. Both her sister (who we'll call Pickle, for reasons known only to me) and her hubby are in their 30's, and didn't want something that was too big or too traditional. So they wrote their own vows, planned everything from the pre-wedding champagne toast to the reception. And it was great. It actually made me think about what me and R had missed by eloping - the chance for families to come together, a real public celebration, the cake and the dancing and all that.

But the big news - possibly bigger than the wedding - was this.

Oliver took his first steps.

Yeah, yeah. I know. I waited for two freaking weeks to tell you. But I've been busy! (See previous post.)

I was away at the bachelor party for the future Mr. Pickle, and Pickle and R were at home with little Oliver. At some point, R was walking him across the hardwood floors, hand in tiny hand, and suddenly he let go, and he took two little tiny steps just like that. Bang. There it was.

(R didn't remember to tell me until sometime the next morning. I almost spit out my coffee.)

He did it again two or three times while we were out there. Once, the future Mr. Pickle stood a few steps from him and dangled my watch (a favorite toy of Oliver's) in front of him. "See this? You've got to come here to get it!" And he did - six steps, right to Mr. Pickle and the watch, while we watched with our jaws on the floor.

And that was fun. And we were all excited, because suddenly we had a genuine! walking! baby! But then we came home, and suddenly he showed no interest in walking. We'd try to get him to do it, taking him on little strolls, then releasing his hands and whispering "Come on, Oliver. You can do it. We know you can do it," while the other person teased him with a book or a toy. And he'd plop right down on his bum and crawl over to the other person. He took the very occasional step or two, but nothing to get excited about.

And then, a few nights ago, he remembered. Nothing seemed to change, there was no great bolt of lightning or shower of fireworks going off, but when R would let go of his hands, he stood for a minute, giggle maniacally, and then step... step ... step. And he did it again, and again, and again. Once, he went for a good twelve paces before he let gravity take hold again. And every time, the wild giggle, like he couldn't believe he was doing it either.

Like silly people, we applaud every time he takes steps on his own. And we try not to groan too loudly when we stand him up, and instead of walking, he drops down on all fours and crawls instead.

Tonight was the absolute best, because after taking a few hitchy baby steps, he started clapping himself. It seems only fair. He's the one who's doing all the work. It's only fair that he should get to applaud himself.

P.S. At the same time, he's suddenly learned how to turn his wagon around by himself. (I complained - gently - a few posts ago, because he was using the wagon like a maniac, but daddy or mommy had to turn it around every time he hit a wall or a corner.) All of a sudden, we saw him doing exactly what daddy did - tilting the handle back, pivoting the wagon until it was in the right direction - and then tearing off again. Once he got the mechanics, he was very nearly unstoppable. (Well, if it weren't for the toys that kept logjamming under his wheels.)

And once he could control the wagon, I realized that I had made a horrible miscalculation. During the early days, when I was trying to coax him into using the wagon at all, I would encourage him to use me as a target. "Come on. Come get daddy." And then, when he was a few steps away, I would leap away with a little scream. Well, now he's decided that the game is Hit Daddy with the Wagon. And I'm jumping out of the way more and more now, and no, it's not fun anymore. He's still laughing, though, every time he gets me lined up in his sights.

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