leaps and bounds
After a month or two of backing up, Valor passed the 10-month mark and sprang into action, developmentally speaking. First, he was able to sit up by himself (from a lying down position). I walked into his room after his nap one day and found him sitting up. Then a week went by before he did it again, making me wonder if it was a fluke. Then I would see him sitting up again. Thursday morning after I found him sitting up in his crib, he had also detached the breathing monitor’s velcro straps, disconnected its cord (an RJ11 connection, no less), and left it on the other side of his bed. That’s when we knew it was time to pack away the monitor, take out the bumper, and lower the crib.
We were all betting that Valor would walk before he crawled. Wednesday I told my best friend Susan that Valor was cruising between chairs, but was lunging more than crawling when he was on the floor. She commented that her first daughter learned to walk by pushing a box. That sounded like a great idea, so I found a box and we tried it out. At first the box slipped over the vinyl floor so quickly that he couldn’t keep up with it and kept falling down. But Thursday he was doing a little better, so I set the camera on the floor to film him. However, the sight of a cute electronic gadget on the floor was so enticing that before I could pick him up and take him to the box, he tentatively but deliberately crawled to the camera.
Valor still prefers walking to crawling, and he primarily crawls to find me and get me to help him walk. His favorite kind of walking is holding someone’s hands and “driving” himself where he wants to go.
But he is also becoming a box-walking pro, and loving every minute of it. This accomplishment occurred on Friday:
I’m still stunned; it was all gradual, but the end result of sudden locomotion still leaves me giggling with wonder. When I look around and find Valor five or ten feet away from where I left him, I am thrilled. Movement is such an amazing gift. Recently we approved a new comment on an old post which caused us to re-watch a vignette from the past: me helping James try to stand. He looks so much more floppy and weak than his brother, even though he was at the strongest point in his life. Standing was a huge accomplishment, a step toward independence and maturity, even if he could still only do it with my support.
Like James, Valor is also very proud of himself when he moves. On the crawling video you might have noticed him clicking his tongue with self-approval (a sound he learned from his Grandpa). When he started walking with help, he made little boastful sounds and stopped for a victory dance every so often.
Every day Valor does something new, and discovers something new. Today he pulled to stand on at least four new pieces of furniture, including the vacuum cleaner which promptly fell over and dumped him to the ground. He even pulled up on my legs using my shorts as handles (good thing I was wearing a belt). He has learned to make kissy sounds—he actually did them for the first time in the box-walking video, above.
New abilities have expanded his investigations of the house. He opens and shuts cabinet doors, squats to feel the texture of a bathroom mat, peers over the edge of the bathtub, and pats the trash can lid. When he discovered that the toilet was off-limits, he settled for a sample of toilet paper. Hmmm. The taste was pretty bland, but the mayhem potential for this little stash was off the charts.
Valor’s communication skills are developing even while his motor skills are surging ahead. Today he reached for his sippy cup of water when he was thirsty (he usually just looks at it). He likes to watch our lips and repeat sounds back to us, although he doesn’t seem to attach meaning to any sounds yet. We got him to say “va-va-va” just by saying to him over and over. I think he might have said “bye-bye” this morning when John drove off to work. Dah-dah-dah and mah-mah-mah are still his favorite sounds, but he also still does a really cute whispered ta-ta-ta, especially in the morning when he’s just woken up. I’m doing some sign language with him, but I don’t know if that’s registering or not. I think he understands “no” and “that’s not for eating.” Valor will usually click his tongue at you if you click at him, kiss at you (sort of) if you kiss at him, and clap if you clap your hands.
We celebrated Valor’s new independence (and our nation’s older independence) with a new kiddie pool courtesy of Grandmommy Peg. John and I immediately realized the utility of such a device, minus the water, inside the house as a containment device. I am already trying to imagine how I can get the house packed and moved now that Valor is a man on the move.
On the night of the Fourth, John’s boss generously invited us to check out a new side of New Bern: the river side. We went out with his family in their boat to see the fireworks display over the Neuse River. It was wonderfully cool on the water, and a novel way to beat the event traffic. Valor was more excited about their dog than the boat ride; I’m not even sure he understood that we were on a boat. The rocking waves did make him sleepy, though, and he was out before the noise began.