Discussing Maggie’s various skills and hurdles with my mother’s coworker, the coworker said to me “It’s so nice that Maggie is a normal baby. All the other babies I meet are advanced.” She said that about two weeks ago and I have been laughing about that ever since; it is so true that we parents love to play up our children as the next Einstein. I’m no exception, of course. I think Maggie rules. But there are a number of things she can’t–or more accurately, won’t–do.
Maggie will: climb like a spider monkey
Maggie won’t: stand alone without holding something for balance
Maggie is a mountain goat. Observe:
I’ve seen her do numerous flights of stairs and climb back down flawlessly. She has no problem getting in and out of the pool, nor does she have an issue getting on or off the couch. But Maggie likes to have at least three limbs on the floor, or both feet on the floor and one hand on a shelf or wall. When encouraged to let go, she goes amorphous blob and rubber-babys her way into a puddle on the floor. She’s going to rock cliff faces, but it’ll be a while before she does a walking trail. We visited some friends whose baby was about two months younger, and that baby was already full-tilt running. Maggie kind of looked at her as if to say “Dude…um, you know they’ll carry you, right?” Thus, The World’s Laziest Baby.
Will: Identify objects, colors, and body parts; hold simple contextual conversations
Will not: Do so on command
In her favorite books, she can point out the red balloon or the fish if you ask her to find it; she can find a kitty and knows it says “Meow.” She’ll say “Oh boy!” when she sees Daddy on Skype and say “Hi!” upon seeing a new person in the room. After trying a tasty new food, if asked if the morsel was enjoyable she’ll say “Good! Yum!” If you ask her where her nose is, she dutifully sticks a digit up her nostril; she’ll put a book in your lap and say “Book!” or ask “Up?” to be picked up.
Will she do ANY of this when asked to perform for her father, or to repeat words out of a contextual setting? Will she say “Hi” when a greeting isn’t required? Will she point to her ears a second time if she’s already performed that task? No to all, and furthermore, she’ll glare at you with a look that clearly states “I am not your trick pony.” And then? She’ll fart on you. Seriously. My nephew is the biggest ham ever, a born performer who will repeat anything up to and including the chorus of “Bad Romance” (except he says it “Womance,” which, AWESOME), but Maggie has no such inclination to please.
Will: Drink from a cup; hold and chew finger foods
Will not: Hold said cup on her own; listen when asked to stop throwing food on the floor
She drinks from a cup! Daily! Yay! Will she hold it on her own? Flat-out refuses. Dropped it on my toe last time. And when she’s all done she’ll drool down her chin like a lobotomy patient. And if she’s done with her food or isn’t interested, she throws it on the floor which she clearly knows is wrong. I know she knows it’s wrong because I asked her to stop the other day. She turned away from me, made a motion to put the food against her lips, checked to see if I was watching (I was pretending not to look at her) and when she was satisfied that I wasn’t she threw the fruit on the floor. Sneak.
It’s really not a matter of “can” vs. “can’t”. She has a will and a mind of her own and could do any of the above if she wanted to, but she doesn’t. I don’t force her. One thing I kind of shot myself in the foot with was potty training; she went a few times on her own in Hawaii but our temporary relocation to Florida was so stressful that she hasn’t indicated any readiness since February or so. Which is a bummer because I hate, hate, hate folding diapers. But like with everything else she’s done, even since she was a fetus, she’ll do what she wants to do in her own good time and not a single second before. I respect that, and I like seeing her prepare her mind for readiness on the next big adventure.
Maggie is a delightful child, a blessing in every sense, but it is entirely because of who she is and not because of what she will or won’t do. She’s happy, exuberant, and interested in new things; she loves books above all else and babbles delightfully all the time. She delights in the pool and the playground and in new foods. She’s just a joyful person who likes to be around others, yet is totally capable of entertaining herself and doing her own thing when she feels like being alone.
Maggie’s pretty much awesome.