Playful, elegant, and not above the judicious use of the word “shit."

The Leta Walking Experience

The day after Leta took her first steps we had a hard time convincing her that she should try it again. This makes no sense to me because if someone handed me the keys to a brand new car and said, “Want this?” I’d take off to Wyoming and you’d never see me again. We tried to coax her into standing, and by coax I mean we forcibly picked up her body until her legs fell out from underneath her like a lawn chair.

But once her feet hit the ground she would pull her legs back up again, her landing gear folded into mid-flight position. You’d think we could just stand there and dangle her longer than she could dangle her own legs, we are the adults, after all. But you forget that kids come with some sort of Inspector Gadget Go Go Limp Body gene. She can make every bone in her body turn noodly for as long as it takes to escape.

When she does indulge us she takes anywhere from five to ten steps and then falls forward with the force of a Redwood. We catch her and hug her with praise, although the hug resembles a net catching a violently flopping fish more than it does a hug. A hug is a hug, though, and I’ll take it because in ten years she’s going to push me away and say, “People are watching, mother. Could you at least pretend you don’t know me?” And she will break my heart and I will stumble into her sixth grade science class wearing rollers in my hair and leopard-print furry slippers on my feet and beg her to love me in front of all her peers.

Last night we tried to get her to walk from the bathtub to her room so that we could get her ready for bed without having to wrangle her onto the changing table. She went limp halfway through the journey and fell full-bodied onto the rug in her bedroom, giggling and picking up stray dog hair and lint like a magnet with her wet body. When we finally got her to stop rolling around I quickly doused her body in lotion and it felt like I was rubbing her belly with chunky peanut butter. Jon lathered her butt in diaper rash ointment making sure that she’d wake up in the morning with dog hair pasted to her crack.

“This is really gross,” I said to Jon over the roar of her laughter. “But that doesn’t mean I’m going to vacuum more often. She can either learn to stand and walk or continue to sleep with gravel in her britches.” I can’t wait until she’s old enough to read that.

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