7 December 2012
One of our daycare teachers thinks that Theo will be walking by Christmas. I think that this is an ambitious estimate; he’s currently getting all kinds of thrills by walking behind a chair or cardboard box that he’ll push in front of him until it inevitably runs into a wall or a piece of furniture, huffing and puffing intensely all the while from the combined exertion and excitement. (“Pfffffffft! Pssssshhht! Pfft! Pfft!” Pete sometimes refers to him as Baby Pancks.) But I’m pretty sure that Theo won’t really be satisfied until he’s able to do chin-ups, since he’s been unsuccessfully attempting to haul himself up and on top of furniture using upper body strength alone for months now.
It boggles my mind that many people manage to work from home, or just generally get stuff done, while taking care of an almost-11-month-old in a household environment. Theo is not a particularly rambunctious child, but he is driven by an overpowering, if measured, curiosity. If there is a (covered!) electrical socket within view, he will immediately crawl over to it and try and pry it loose with razor-sharp baby fingernails. If I step out of the nursery post-diaper change to wash my hands, he will make a beeline to the diaper pail and do his best to pull it over on top of him. (Or wail, depending upon how the separation anxiety’s going that day. Or try to unblock the route under the chair so he can start extracting the lamp cord.) We have friends with a suction cup-affixed portable placemat that they use in restaurants, which boggles my mind: how is such an object not a direct challenge to the mind of the infant engineer? Basically, we spend our days doing virtually everything but sitting and playing quietly; if Pete and I make it another few years without our son having successfully bashed in the screen of the TV with the wooden base of the ring stacker, I’ll say that we’ve succeeded as parents.
Given the intense allure of the forbidden, we’re all lucky that we can convert a space in our (baby-exempt) office into a designated Christmas Zone. “Surround the tree with furniture and use unbreakable ornaments!” I hear people say, but with Captain Curiosity around… just, no. I don’t want to spend the money on a super-sized baby jail (… although that might be the ultimate solution to the Baby vs. AV equipment battle), and the idea of spending a straight month dragging a determined Theo away from the tantalizingly forbidden delights of branches and ornaments and hooks is exhausting. So, we put the tree up in the office, which — surrounded by its array of low-lying books, cords, electrical sockets, papers, and keyboards and mouses within reach — seems appropriate.
Though one day later I had to move the presents into the spare bedroom. It took Garth all of an hour before he chewed a 1″ hole in some wrapping paper.