Now that Jonah is mobile, I have taken steps to ensure that he doesn’t move in areas he shouldn’t move. Sometimes I wish we could live where he could have a larger area to roam around in, exploring. He doesn’t have a bunch of room, but what he has, he claims.
Since our apartment is about the size of the average living room, it’s pretty easy to limit Jonah’s movement.
Here’s what we do:
I shut the doors to the bathroom, our bedroom, Jonah’s bedroom, and the laundry room.
Then I move the coffee table, blocking access to the kitchen. I scatter his toys in the open area, and I watch him go from toy to toy, circling the living room.
Thus, Jonah has an area that he can roam around in, often circling the living room like a Shetland Pony in a corral. I’ve been wanting to bridle train him, but he doesn’t have the ears to keep it on his head.
Anyway, Jonah’s movement is all about discovery. He’s like the Magellan of our living room, often attempting to circle the coffee table to launch himself into our kitchen. While discovery can lead to higher quality of life, Jonah’s effort at discovery often results in bumps and bruises.
For instance, the first few days of Jonah’s crawling efforts lead to an odd striping on his forehead. As he discovered that he could move, he hadn’t figured that the furniture would remain stationary. Thus, he ran into the rocking chair, the coffee table, the door (to the bathroom, our bedroom and the laundry room) and every corner we have in our house. Unlike those mechanized toys that simply pull a 180 every time they hit a wall, Jonah would run into something, back up, run into it again, sit down and cry.
We ran a full-time comforting service during these times while we developed plausible reasons for the zebra-striped bruises on Jonah’s forehead. Part of our effort at comfort involved the distraction. This technique is often overlooked in the face of a screaming baby or a panicked parent, but it works. If we are forced to take away the small chainsaw he happened to find behind the couch, we can easily distract him with a less dangerous form of entertainment like, say, an attack duck. Since I have been around both a chain saw and an attack duck, well it’s a toss-up. Chain saws can cut through wood rather quickly, and ducks bite like the Dickens. Anything done like the Dickens often trumps other things that can cut wood quickly, but we figure both a chain saw and an attack duck are bad ideas. Thus, we distract him with simple, non-lethal toys like wooden spoons or baseball bats.
As he made his way, bumping around the room, Jonah discovered these sources of excitement.
Item #1: Door stopper spring. We have one of those things that attach to the wall to keep the door from slamming when it’s opened. Jonah crawls over to the spring jutting out of the wall. He reaches out his hand, grabs it, and then lets go. BBBBOOOOIIIINNNGGG!!! Jonah laughs. BBBOOOOIIINNNGGG!!! Jonah laughs. BBBBOOOIIINNNGGGG!!! Jonah laughs. Repeat ten thousand times.
Item #2: Basket of magazines. We saw a preview of this one with Savannah. Both she and Jonah love to tear apart magazines, page by page. Neither Sunday nor I have had a magazine subscription for over two years, but we have a basket full of magazines. Jonah views the basket as his opportunity to create his own little tickertape parade, over by our television. He takes out one magazine, disconnects each page from its staple, and tears each page into little bitty pieces. Unfortunately, he does this so quickly that it he’s tearing up page 36 before I know that he’s over there. He’s a ninja!
Item #3: Fireplace. We have a fireplace. We do not use it. I have enough memories of sledge hammers and wood-splitting wedges to avoid ever starting a fire in my own home. I get calluses on my hands just thinking about building a fire. Bring on the electric, gas, or oil heat! Nevertheless, Jonah loves the fireplace so much, that he tries to crawl into it. The first time he tried it, he had his torso entirely inside the fireplace. By the time I pulled him out of there, he had so much soot on him that he looked like a little coal miner.
Items #4/#5: Me and Sunday. Four days after Jonah started crawling, Sunday and I were sitting on the couch talking as he made his way around the room. We were so interested in our conversation that we hadn’t noticed that Jonah had pulled himself to a full standing position. By the time we stopped talking, we were staring at him as he gripped the couch cushions. Both of us realized that we were in huge trouble, because crawling is one thing, but climbing and walking are advancements that we’re not equipped to handle just yet. And if he keeps up this pace, he’ll be taking Calculus in preschool.