Afraid of Falling

She sits on the floor, her legs bent in front of her, the soles of her feet just touching. She talks to herself, a constant stream of babble, as she flips through her board book, pausing on each page just long enough to rest her tiny fingers before moving to the next. I smile; my mother tells me my baby girl shows shades of me at her age and it is true. I hope her love of the written word grows as mine did.

A rustling in the corner breaks her concentration; the cat has found a scrap of tissue paper. For a girl just past her first birthday, this is far more interesting than Eric Carle. She flings her book to the side, slides forward, rests her weight on her hands, then hesitates. This position feels unstable, though she’s gotten to this exact point dozens of times in recent months. The tissue paper beckons, just out of reach.

She has yet to crawl. When the situation is desperate, she’s been known to roll, back to front, front to back, stringing turns together to reach her destination, and in the past few weeks, she’s developed a kind of scooting motion, thumping her hands down together and sliding forward on her belly, an awkward land-baby version of the butterfly stroke. Though she lags behind her peers today, perhaps she’ll be an outstanding swimmer one day.

I’m thrilled to have an essay up at Coffee + Crumbs today. Join me there to read the rest!

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