Last night we took your crib apart in the middle of the night in order to lower the mattress. Your recent fascination with climbing paired with your new ability to pull yourself into a standing position meant that waist high crib bars were no longer safe for you. Those bars had to come up a whole lot higher.
You are definitely on the go these days. Crawling, climbing, standing, and getting in to everything. The moment I take something away, you are instantly six feet away and into something else.
I love that you are so curious and determined and persistent. I love that you will climb over teddy bears and books and blankets to investigate something that captures your attention. I love that you don’t give up when something is difficult.
And this is where parenting starts to get difficult. How do I keep you safe while at the same time, not squash your determination? Everything we do to baby-proof, to keep you safe, is an obstacle. I don’t want you to give up. I want you to be persistent. I want you to overcome obstacles. Except that one, and that one, and that one, and that one, and… and every thing else I put in your way to help keep you safe.
I feel like I tell you “no” all the time.
So what do I do? Do I teach you to give up now, and then try to re-teach determination when you get older? That doesn’t sit well with me. On the other hand, I have to keep you safe. You took a pretty big fall the other day; big enough that I took you in to see the doctor (you checked out just fine). That really scared me.
Your motor skills are pretty advanced for your age, I’m afraid they may be more advanced than your language or cognative skills. You’re no dummy, but you are still a baby. A seven month old baby. I can’t explain these things to you. The concept of cause and effect goes right over your head.
We are working on boundaries, and you are starting to get it. But boundaries wont help those situations where you try to stand up all by yourself in the middle of the living room – with nothing to hold on to. You are going to fall. Hopefully you will land on your butt, but sometimes you do a face plant. You cry a bit, and then five minutes later you try to stand up again. I love that! But standing up all by yourself makes the world more dangerous for you. We have to deal with that.
Daddy and I have been joking about getting a helmet for you, but we wouldn’t do that. You see, you need the little bumps. You need to fall down, even though it hurts. Maybe because it hurts. It’s the fact that you get up and try it again even after it hurts that makes you determined and persistent. That is how you learn. You learn so much more from success after many, many attempts than you would if you were successful at everything the first time you tried. Its the bumps that teach, not the triumphs. And the little bumps, hopefully, will help protect you from the big bumps. I can’t teach you cause and effect, it is something you have to learn from experience. The little bumps can teach you that, and teach you to be careful around the things that can cause the big bumps.
You can do anything you set your mind to. I may from time to time put obstacles in your way. Don’t assume that means “not ever,” more likely it just means “not yet.” I am so proud of you.
Read more Letters to Gem.