Fatherhood Adventures

He is up. He is down. He is back up. He is back down.

That’s what it’s like around the house these days as my son continues to work on standing on his own. This pretty much means everything to him right now. He is constantly trying to get vertical by pulling on anything and everything. What began as an effort in futility a week or so ago has now become a challenge he looks like he can soon master on his own.

Getting upright dominates his attention these days, and it has been wonderful to monitor his progress. He’s almost standing on his own without any assistance. So far, I think the longest he has made it is about 10 seconds. He stands there wobbly and confused with a “what now?” kind of expression on his face. It’s a look of total bewilderment. A couple seconds later, he caves to the confusion and collapses, only to try it again soon after. All the while his mom and I are trying to conceal our concern over his safety.

In the midst of keeping a wary eye on him came a wonderful memory last week. I turned my back for a minute and looked back at him in his playzone area and there he was standing at the gate. He had pulled himself up and was standing on his own for the first time. Over the last couple months, it’s become natural to look over and see him sitting in there and playing by himself. It was not too long ago that seeing him sitting up was a wonderful thing. Now, it’s all about standing, and looking over and seeing him upright at the gate trying to place his mouth around the railing was a great memory.

What’s funny and dangerous at the same time is when he gets tired. That’s when it gets scary. The legs are wiped and they show it. His knees start to buckle under him, resembling something like a building being imploded. Fortunately, gravity does its thing and he mostly lands squarely on his cushiony bottom.

There is nothing like a baby’s determination. They just do not give up. It’s admirable. They fall, they wipe out, they tumble, they hit the floor hard. All this but they get up and try it again with gusto. They epitomize resolve and never succumb to fear.

It seems to me all babies have addictive personalities. It’s part of the growing process as they learn more and discover new things. They are all about one aspect for a certain period of time and then it’s gone in a snap. They master it and move on.

For instance, for about a week, Beckett was all about blowing kisses, or at least his version of them. Every morning for about a week, when I would come get him in his crib and pull his pacifier out, he would toss a kiss my way. That was a great way to start the day. Previously, he would blow raspberries, also a charming start to any day. He has since moved on.

Now, as I walk in his room in the morning, almost always between 6 and 7 a.m., he greets me with the same captivating smile I have seen for most of his life. The major difference is he’s standing up and doing it. The other morning, there he was standing in his crib with both arms on the railing, knees a little shaky and a pacifier hanging from his mouth. The funny thing was he had it in backwards. The raspberries and kisses are long gone and replaced largely with extended arms, signaling a desire to start the day.

Another example is the patty-cake nursery rhyme. For about a month, he was fascinated by it to the point we could not even pick him up without persistent attempts to place our hands in front of him. He was addicted to it and couldn’t get enough. That’s no longer the case, as he wants to squirm away to something bigger and better, particularly anything he can use to pull himself up.

All this increased activity and hard work seems to be taking it out of him. He went to sleep at 6:45 the other night and was not heard from again until 7 the next morning. That’s a beautiful thing.

In Beckett’s case, there’s no question standing up is the new “it” thing. Next up will be walking, and that’s a little scary for us first-time parents. It’s funny to hear the reactions of other parents when we tell them the stage we are in. The comments have run the proverbial gamut, from one mom who said, “it’s the best once you don’t have to carry them everywhere” to a father who said something along the lines of, “don’t encourage it, you will never be able to take your eyes off him again.”

Most of the advice we receive deals with getting the house ready for a walking baby. As best we can, we have kid-proofed the house, but I assume it’s only a matter of time before we learn we should have done more. One problem I know we will have to deal with is his fascination with electric chords because that’s already an issue. We will deal with that soon enough.

In the meantime, we are still in the pre-walking days, and I find this current stage a blast. It’s hilarious to watch as he pulls himself up to his feet and then that classic expression of doubt that gives way to a fall.

As of this writing, he’s enjoying the standing up part as much as he does the crashing down. It’s that bruiser mentality that gives us pause. On one hand, we laugh because of the sounds he makes and the facial expressions. Conversely, we cringe out of fear for his safety at the same time. It seems to me this is something we should become accustomed to and the sooner the better as he will be walking soon enough. The chances are it will happen before his parents are ready. What else is new there?

About The Author: Steven Green

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The writer has been with The Dispatch in various capacities since 1995, including serving as editor and publisher since 2004. His previous titles were managing editor, staff writer, sports editor, sales account manager and copy editor. Growing up in Salisbury before moving to Berlin, Green graduated from Worcester Preparatory School in 1993 and graduated from Loyola University Baltimore in 1997 with degrees in Communications (journalism concentration) and Political Science.