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Ups and downs.

2006-11-07 - 9:22 p.m.

Poor wee munchkin. Learning to be ambulatory certainly has its up and downs. Now that Grommet is crawling around and pulling up on things, sheís learning some hard lessons about gravity. Today alone she slipped twice while cruising along the coffee table and knocked her little noggin on the way down. Howls and tears followed fast on the heels of the thunks.

My heart breaks for her, yet I know that she has to learn to walk and she canít do that without going through this stage. Like giving her food or medicine she doesnít like, I have to let her continue to stretch and explore her world. Of course, Iím not suggesting that the bumps themselves are good for her; but without trying and failing, sheíd never get to the trying and succeeding part. Itís hard to watch but I couldnít stop her, really, without putting her in a playpen and padding her entire world. Iíve thought about the coffee table being hard, but, well, itís a coffee table. We have cushions for the corners but the edges arenít sharp and I think itís the scare of the noise and the fall that are just as bad as the physical bang. She gets a small red mark on her melon each time, but she hasnít bruised and the mark fades pretty quickly, as do her tears when sheís distracted with a toy or a boob.

The funny thing is that both times she fell I was hovering right behind her. Oh, I certainly did catch her more than a few times, but I just wasnít quick enough on those two. Yísee, when she tilts backwards I can break her fall, but when she goes forwards, well, Iím behind her and the coffee table is whatís in front.

Itís amazing to see her progress already though. Her crawl is getting faster and when I put a toy on the opposite end of the coffee table she makes her way along it and triumphantly seizes her prize when she gets there. It takes all of a few seconds for her to be up on her feet in the crib when I put her down. And she does grin and crow with pride when we praise her for her feats.

Still, hard to watch when she falls. And it seems even more so for J, who appeared with a cool cloth to press to her head while I was nursing her after the second fall. I donít want us to become those anxious parents who treat their kids as totally fragile; I know that if you treat the minor bumps as not too serious a matter it helps your child get over it faster. But man, Iíll say it again, itís so hard to watch.

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