A Crawling Baby is the Harbinger of Doom

March 18, 2015

Cozette Blazak turned 7 months yesterday. You know what that means – She’s a crawling Kingsnake! Suddenly my house is a danger zone of death traps. Even the bed is now the cliff Thelma & Louise shot over.

Her mobility started a few months ago with rolling. The first time she figured out how to roll over we were over the moon. What a landmark! It also reduces the chances the baby will die of SIDS, so that’s good. The flip of that is now she wants to roll over every time you want to change her damn diaper. Suddenly our sedentary newborn was on the move, rolling all over the floor like the meatball that rolled off the spaghetti.

Watching her roll around the nursery floor became a new pastime for us. You could see her bright mind enjoying the mobility as she explored her environment. We’d watch her problem-solve when she’d roll under the crib. That’s when she figured out how to back up. She’d scoot herself backwards all over the place. But forward movement remained elusive.

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But then a funny thing happened. Cozy discovered the laws of physics. If she could get herself up to her knees, she could rock back and forth and she could use gravity to launch herself forward a few inches. It looked painful but she was thrilled to move in the same direction she was looking. Then it was just a hop, skip and jump to the army crawl and the standard baby crawl. It was like that scene from Santa Claus Is Coming To Town. “Put one foot in front of the other and soon you’ll be walking out the door.”

The big breakthrough came when we put a flashlight on the floor about five feet in front of her and she made a B-line for it. “Go toward the light!” we shouted. Maybe she was having a birth memory. When people “die” on the operating table and report being in a tunnel headed to a bright light, I’m like yeah, you’ve been there before. It’s called a “vagina.” Cozy knew it. Get born, keep warm.

Of course now the thrill has turned to terror. Where’s the baby? Under the bed. Suddenly, I realize how un-baby-proofed this house is. The hard wood floors that seemed so cool, the vintage door frames, the stack of sneakers with their laces so inviting. Everything is something to bang your head on or to choke on. The rooms I didn’t take the crappy old carpet out of when I bought this house are now safe (safer) zones.

The bed is the scary one. Your bed is supposed to be the place where you feel most safe. Now that Andrea is not working, we can sleep in on weekdays. Awesome, right? Well, we co-sleep with Cozy. She likes to sleep in, too. But once she wakes up, she’s on the move, headed for the edge of the bed like it’s Niagara Falls. Maybe it’s time to sleep on a futon. That’s what unemployed artists sleep on, right? You can’t fall far off of a futon.

When Cozy was a new baby, I was anxious for her to do something other than coo and be beautiful. Friends said, “Enjoy this phase when she’s stuck where you put her.” I get it now. She just crawled across the bedroom floor and opened my wife’s bureau drawer, looked back at me and smiled. “Look what I can now, fucker.” Oh, I’m starting to long for swaddled baby who was right where you left her. A lawyer friend just emailed me, “Get ready to give chase on the drop of a dime from here on out.” Lord.

The great part of this is I can see how her mobility helps her cognitive development. The down side is she is now crawling out the bedroom door, toward the hardwood floor and mom in the kitchen. The Beatles’ “She’s Leaving Home” is playing in my head.

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I’ll bring her back in in a second, like a turtle being placed back at the starting line of a turtle race. I can always lure her back by placing the laptop on the floor with her picture on it. Narcissism knows no age. But at the moment she is in the bathroom, feeling how the tile floor is different from the carpet. I hope this little rugrat doesn’t disappear down the laundry chute.

She’s leaving home, bye, bye.

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