It’s interesting, being a parent. I can see now how it starts to consume you, this child that relies solely on you for every necessity. It’s difficult to separate “life” and “life as a parent.” Conversation with friends, neighbors and even strangers changes the moment you have a child. During the first six months the questions and dialogue revolve around sleeping habits. Then they move to the issues that come with crawling. And now, as we have passed the year-mark, the discussions go something like this:
“How old is he?”
“Almost 15 months.”
“Is he walking?”
“Oh, you’re in trouble now!” (said with a grin)
“I know, they’re great, aren’t they!”
“Oh, but he’ll lose them as he gets more mobile!” (also said with a grin and possibly with a pat on the back or a request for a high-five from Cole)
These days, conversation is all about the walking and the climbing and the running around. While many parents don’t want this increased activity, we are relishing Cole’s mobility . Each step he takes toward becoming more independent means that he can do more with Jason without my help.
Up till now, if Jason wanted to hold Cole then I had to lift him onto his lap or over his shoulder. If he wanted to get down, then I helped him down. Jason is a great babysitter when Cole is in his crib except for one small detail – he can’t lift him. Because of his break in his neck, he literally doesn’t have use of the muscles required to do so. He will play with him till the cows come home but Cole knows that it requires Mom to get him where he wants to go – OUT.
So call us crazy, but we have taught Cole how to climb onto things. For us, it means independence. Jason, always thinking creatively when it comes to Cole, figured out how to roll him off of his lap and into one of the armchairs in our family room. We then taught the little munchkin how to get off the chair and onto the floor (click here to see it in action). This was a big step for Cole and meant a little freedom for me since I didn’t have to be on hand to get him off of Jason’s lap.
The next step, of course, was to teach Cole how to get back up onto Jason’s lap, simply by reversing the process. This one took a little more doing, a little more practice, a little more helping along. We got him a stool to climb onto so that he can then put his head down and wrestle himself up onto the chair. Next, he climbs onto the chair’s armrest, hangs onto Jason’s collar and pulls himself up and over the wheelchair armrest. Finally, he secures his spot standing on his Jason’s lap. Victory! Triumph! The crowd goes wild as Cole applauds himself for his efforts to climb Mount Daddy!
It’s a piece of cake for him now and just part of our routine at home. Not only does Cole use that chair to hang out with his dad, but he likes to sit there and drink his sippy cup or watch Mickey. That chair is his domain and he knows it. He owns that thing.
On. Off. Up. Down. Again. Again. Again. All while I am in the shower or weeding the flower beds or cleaning out the dishwasher. Independence. It has a whole new meaning for me now. Cole’s independence means a little bit of independence for his mama and daddy. And in the Hall house, every little bit counts.
But you’re still out of luck on one thing, Cole – we’re not teaching you how to get out of your crib. You have to wait for that one.