Standing Tall

Posted: August 27th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Extended Family, Paigey Waigey Wiggle Pop, Walking | 4 Comments »

I still remember some parenting moves friends of mine made long before I popped out my own kids.

I never intended to file them away. Just noted them in passing, the way you might think, “Damn, this coffee’s hot,” and then go onto your next thought.

For years I worked with a designer named Todd. The kinda guy who, if he was a 12-year-old girl—and you were too—you’d be hard-pressed to think up mean things to write in your slam book about him. For instance, the first 17 things that come to mind about the guy are that he’s kind, genuine, sweet, thoughtful, patient…. Well, you get my point.

Todd’s a bit older than me and most of our old agency cronies. Back in the day, he had a daughter when the biggest responsibility the rest of us had was remembering to get regular oil changes for our cars. Whenever his daughter come to the office, he’d do this thing where he’d squat down on his haunches to talk to her. He’d just kinda hang out there at her level when she was around. It killed me.

Aside from the impressive hamstring burn he no doubt suffered in doing this, I was struck by how damn sweet it was. Here’s this shorty, plopped down in a labyrinthine office with tall strangers pokin’ at her and squawking about her cuteness. Making sense of a brood of sassy oddball grown-ups had to be challenging. (It was at times for me too.) But there was her dad, down alongside her, taking it all in at her level.

Who doesn’t want that father?

The past few days Paigey’s made dazzling progress in her long-delayed efforts towards walking. Mark’s mom arrived for a visit last week, and it’s like Paige’s determined to walk before her Grandma leaves.

First off, she started crawling this weekend when Mark was outside grilling. Crawling in that good old-fashioned normal way babies do in diaper ads. Mark called me downstairs all frantic-like to come see, and as we watched her move across the basement carpet we held our hands over our hearts, like we were watching her get her diploma from vet school or something.

This, I know, is hardly something parents of most nearly-nineteen-month-olds would celebrate. But Paigey’s been a dyed-in-the-wool butt scooter. An aberration that she’s grown so accustomed to and so fiercely good at, I’ve feared the longer she does it the harder it’ll be to get her moving any other way.

But then, like a switch went off, she starting pulling up to standing. Another thrilling—and exceptionally delayed—milestone. Pulling up to hand me a wooden mint chip ice cream cone as I sat at my desk. Pulling up to monitor what’s cooking on the burners of her toy kitchen stove. And at the library, hoisting herself to Grandma’s chair level to beg for more Puffin cereal. All this, just today!

And she’s doing it like it’s no big thing. But every time I want to hand her a framed certificate of merit. I get so proud I’m all blurry teary-eyed.

Atta girl, Paigey! I’d thump you on the back and give you a smotherish full body hug if I wasn’t afraid it’d knock you over, and I wouldn’t be able to enjoy a few extra seconds of your perfect verticality.

Somehow I manage to hold back and just admire you. Standing there putting a plastic corn cob in a toy tea cup and taking a sip. Like such a big big standing-up girl! What could be better than watching that? (That, by the way, is a rhetorical question.)

I am so very very proud of you, my sweet Paigey Woo. You’ve made it perfectly clear that you’re planning on walking soon. And if it still takes some time, well that’s okay too.

Whenever it happens, and whatever plane you preside over in the meantime, I plan to take every chance I can to crouch cheek-to-cheek by you, and take in the world from your brilliant two-foot level.


4 Comments on “Standing Tall”

  1. 1 Aunt Judith said at 7:22 pm on August 27th, 2009:

    That’s great!

  2. 2 Mary said at 10:30 pm on August 27th, 2009:

    Yay!! Can you hear me cheering from all the way up here? So proud. And also a number of hysterical, great lines. Want my high-lighter back.

  3. 3 Jeff said at 7:52 am on August 28th, 2009:

    That made me cry, in a good way.

  4. 4 Gramp said at 7:51 pm on August 28th, 2009:

    I didn’t know whether to cry, or say “I told you so” or to have a double Manhattan to I did all three with the biggest Grandfather grin you could imagine. Keep going Paige!

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