“Exploration” or “He’s becoming a monster.”

We are crawling exuberantly now.  From one room into the next, following me into the kitchen.  Casey is more aware of his surroundings than ever before and wants to explore everything. He’s beginning to play on his own for longer periods of time too.

Today I sat on the floor of his room folding laundry while he played. We listened to the Jimi Hendrix Pandora station because its important he knows what some of the great music sounds like- Hendrix, Zepplin, the Stones, Janis Joplin. He seemed quite enchanted by Cream’s “Sunshine of Your Love.”   We’ve been spending a lot of time in his room lately.  I’ve really tried to make his room a place geared towards his functionality, a space where a child has plenty to play and interact with that is on his level, rather than a room geared towards the needs of the adult unit. Of course we have a changing table and despite nagging doubts on my part, we have invested in a crib (which he doesn’t’ sleep in and I personally feel a Montessori inspired floor bed may be the appropriate solution to some of our sleep problems, but this is not relevant to this post.) Anyway, I keep a few small baskets of toys on the floor so that he can choose what to play with and have access to them. I watched him as he crawled over and pulled a wicker basket with small stuffed animals in it toward him. He dumped out the small stuffed animals by shaking the basket and then spent the next ten minutes exploring the basket- pushing it across the floor, sticking his finger in the holes of the weave, shaking it and hitting it against the floor. At one point he crawled across it with his hands. (Thank god he didn’t break!)

Later, I watched him crawl across the floor of his room towards his small bookcase, stopping to pick up and investigate a green block in his path. Continuing on, he dropped the block and picked up the next toy in his path, which happened to be a small plush toy in the shape of a clove of garlic.  He considered it for a moment, put it to his mouth, made a face and then tossed it aside.   Reaching his bookcase, he grabbed the top edge of a large hardback book, which he used as leverage to pull himself up on one knee. He then pulled out the book next to it, jostling three other smaller books onto the floor along with it, sat back down and spent about ten minutes exploring the fallen books. He picks them up, puts the corners in his mouth, turns the books over, and grabs at the pictures with his hands. Sometimes he gets the front cover open. Then he throws the book aside and it’s on to the next one.

Motherhood has become inexorably more exciting and more frightening.  It’s incredible to sit back and watch him learn, realizing how much he takes in, in such a short time.  But it is terrifying to watch him begin to climb on everything and try to pull himself up to a standing position on anything he can hang on to. I continually want to rush over and pick him up but I know it is important to allow him space to learn his limitations. This doesn’t mean I don’t run over and pick him up- I watch that kid like a hawk and am usually right there to scoop him up if he stumbles. I’ve watched him, over the past few days, begin to pull drawers open and zoom over towards the dog food dish again and again. Child proofing is in full effect in our house.  Doors to unused rooms are kept tightly closed, drawers and outlets are covered and locked and anything small enough to go into the mouth (dog food included) is quickly snatched off the floor. I’m exhausted.  And greatly in need of a glass of wine.

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