There comes a time in every baby’s life when they realize they are destined to be bipeds — descendants of homo erectus. As soon as the baby realizes this, it is the only thing they can think about. Practicing standing becomes the baby’s only focus, their sole pastime. It’s their browser home screen, their phone wallpaper, their Facebook profile picture.
A new stander practices standing all the time, even when it doesn’t make sense –all the time is standing time. This means that your sweet baby that used to fuss a bit before falling asleep for a nap no longer just fusses. Instead, it stands up, realizes it can’t get down, and then screams until the shudders fall off of your house. Same goes for the middle of the night. When they wake up, they look around at the dark room, they hear the whirr of the sound machine, and they think, “HEY! LOOK AT THAT! TIME TO STAND UP!”
At 10 p.m., at 12 a.m., at 2:30 a.m., at 5 a.m.
But who’s keeping track?
The best part is that they learn how to stand before they learn how to get down from standing. Getting down seems like an obvious skill. Just let go + gravity. It’s not that simple, though, APPARENTLY, so guess who’s #1 get-down-helper 4 a.m.?
If you guessed that Anna is smack dab in the middle of this phase, WELL DONE! She’s been watching us walk around since November and hasn’t cared a lick, but now it is the ONLY thing she can think about. Personally I don’t understand what she’s so excited about. Now that things like Amazon and Uber exist, there’s barely any reason to stand up anyway.
Hey, Anna, here’s a quick tip: If you got a little more sleep you might have more energy to practice standing! Sincerely, Someone who’s been standing for 35 years.
The first time Anna pulled up happened to be at 6:30 a.m. She’d woken up at 5, then I spent an hour and a half trying to get her back to sleep. At 6:30 Tom woke up and relieved me. As I walked out of the room, I noticed she was standing and said, “Oh, look. She’s never done that before.” Then I walked into my bedroom and shut the door.
It doesn’t get much more “fourth child” than that.
Anna’s favorite place in the entire world is our fireplace mantel. It’s like it calls to her in some way. It’s the perfect height for her to pull up on, either to her knees or her feet. The brick mantle isn’t my first choice as a place for her to play, but WHAT DO I KNOW?
There’s a strong chance that all this vitriol is because I’m just tired. Anna had just settled into better sleep patterns when the standing milestone hit, and while she doesn’t seem affected by these new wake-ups, I most definitely am.
This month hasn’t only been me giving Anna the side-eye because she loves standing more than she loves me. This has also been our first full month of SUMMER, and because of our more relaxed schedule, Anna has enjoyed life similar to the life David had as a baby — uninterrupted naps, cloth diapers, and we’ve had a full two months without any sort of sickness.
In short, it’s been wonderful.
Anna is experimenting with sounds, and when she’s not pulling up, she’s crawling around our house clicking her tongue, or saying GAH! GAH! GAH!, DAH! DAH! DAH!, or MAH! MAH! MAH!
Did you hear that, admissions board at Virginia Tech? You’re going to want this one in your linguistics department.
By now she’s an accomplished crawler, and standing has opened up worlds of mischief to her. She makes the rounds of knocking over towers, demolishing stuffed animal arrangements, and pulling books off shelves. Thomas is thankful that he and Anna finally have something to relate about.
She’s also eating a lot more table food, and she’s dropped a few nursing sessions. This is all big-girl stuff, reminders that we’re closing in on one year. Even though we still have four months to go, I can already say that this is going to go in the books as the fastest year of my life.
Each of my kids have gone through this standing phase. I know that short of rubbing her crib down with Crisco, there’s nothing I can do except get through it. She’ll eventually figure it out and then move on to a new phase. If there’s one thing you can be sure of when it comes to babies, it’s that they’re always changing. Everything is always new.
You still sleep in my room, less than a foot from my bed. You’re more than twice the age of your siblings when I moved them into their own room. I know that moving you to your own room might help you sleep better, but sometimes you wake up so much that I don’t know what I’d do if I had to actually get out of bed to comfort you. It’s working, for now.
Nothing in your life is ever just one thing. When I nurse you, at least one of your siblings is climbing on my legs. When I play peek-a-boo, someone always pokes their head in front of mine to play along. When I give you a bath, I have to sneak away or it will be a bath for four. It’s the hardest thing about having four kids, because mulit-tasking while you make dinner is one thing, but multi-tasking your kids’ needs is a different thing entirely.
But in the mornings, the sun rises and shines in on you in your bed. The first thing I see is you, babbling while you play in the morning light. That’s when it’s just you and me.
I love you,