Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Feat of Sitting Up

Newborn babies are boring. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. They don't see well, they're fairly quiet, and their daily accomplishment are few and far between. The mother of a 3-month old baby excites over her baby's newfound ability to focus on objects several feet away from their face. It's cause for celebration.

A six-month old - on the other hand - a six-month old can do some pretty cool shit. A six-month old, for example, can sit up and play with blocks. Now we're cooking with gas.

I can hardly explain the novelty of Atticus being able to sit up. It is nothing short of a magic trick in my book. How DOES he do it after months of floppiness that necessitated constant carrying around? One second, he's a spineless fish nearly slipping out of my arms. The next, he's a strong little man sitting up, reaching for toys just out of his reach.

Not only does he sit up on his very own, he is also engaged with toys and very, very interested in this whole crawling business. If only he could figure out how to move forward. Backwards? Sure, we have that down. Forward is another thing altogether.

But the sitting up - this, according to Dr. Sears, is the master skill of the six-month old. And Atticus, well obviously he is a master at it even if he occasionally (read: always) falls over at some point during the sitting up. Still, the kid is good. I mean, he's, like, really, really good at it.

I cannot get over it. I sit and watch him do it and cannot go over the feeling that this is all very wrong somehow. He should not be sitting up, or rocking back and forth on all fours in an attempt at locomotion. I thought it would be more of a struggle, but he's no more than thought of it and the feat is done. And it is in those moments that I am utterly aware that Atticus is not an extension of me. While surely I encouraged his ability to sit up, I didn't teach him how to do it. That was all him. He is a complete and whole person whose instincts, both physical and emotional, will dominate his life in a way that even a mother cannot compete with. Not that I want to. I don't.

I'm the transition team. Me and Michael are. We're just here to get him through to adulthood, and with any luck, we'll be there then as well to continue to serve as buffer and pillow when he inevitably falls over again. Even the most mastered of skills fail us at times. But oh how it is fun to watch the skills be acquired. And oh how remarkable it is to be human. To grow, to learn, to get smart, to be interested, to lunge for toys, to sit up on ones very own. Motherhood is nothing if not a reminder of how miraculous we all are.

No comments: