I wrote recently about the baby’s achievements in learning the art of crawling. Since then, he has improved by leaps and bounds, such as those jumping acts apply to one who cannot yet stand upright.
The little fellow has become increasingly mobile in his desire to see the world, as defined by the first floor of our house. Now, having helped the child attain such a glorious milestone, it is time for all good parents to experience remorse.
It is time to regret all of the crawling demonstrations given to the wide-eyed infant. It is time to wish away all the helping hands provided in keeping his little knees underneath him as he wobbled back and forth. It is time to think better of all the encouragement and clapping of hands that accompanied the gaining of that first inch of ground.
It is time to feel the horror building from the pit of the stomach as the realization sets in: we’ve given this monster the superpower of mobility.
There must be some side-effect of parenthood that makes people stupid and forgetful. We are too stupid to realize that a stationary baby is far less a danger to our persons and our property than is a mobile baby. And we can’t even remember this moment of terrible revelation from the last time we went through it.
We should have been tipping him over every time he climbed up upon his hands and knees. We should have been furiously barricading his path with bookcases and upended dining tables. We should have clapped and cheered every time his arms gave out under the weight of his body.
But we did not do these eminently practical things. We did everything he needed us to do in order for him to achieve his nefarious ends. We did it all, because we would rather live in a house, destroyed or barren up to the waist, than suffer our child to be one moment behindhand in his development.
Well, the joke’s on us because we don’t have a cautious child at all. Instead, we have a charismatic manipulator, who beguiled us into the role of henchmen with his three-and-a-half-toothed smile. Only as we begin to pay the price for our callow enthusiasm does the spell begin to fade.
It’s too late. Things are getting misplaced, broken, and maybe even slobbered upon. Every day the house becomes more and more top heavy with precious items too dear to be sacrificed as low hanging fruit.
And of all the foolish parents in the world, we are perhaps the biggest fools, for we have helped this baby hone his crawling skills just in time to make a playground of havoc out of a Christmas tree.