I remember the first time Ivy showed proper hand eye coordination and picked something up. I remember tummy time and her frustration as she loudly shouted into the floor because she didn’t quite have the strength in her back and neck to lift her head of the ground. And I remember sharing her determination to sit upright on her own from lying on her back (she had more willpower to do sit-ups than I ever will). All of these milestones were exciting and seemed a gargantuan task that she slowly but surely overcame.
‘Where’s she gone?’
During those times that feel so long ago now, people would say “you wait until she’s walking” – we’d laugh, convinced we had forever until that day. But we didn’t, those days are pretty much here. What looked like an awkward turtle stuck on her back, evolved into a baby that didn’t quite master the crawl but adopted a half bum shuffle, Quasimodo hunched style leg drag that she has down to a tee and can now cover 20 yards in a matter of seconds, (remember it’s not how you get there, as long as you do).
So we’ve come a long way. But do you remember the early days? Maybe you’re living them now; baby in carrier, tv remote/beer/coffee (you delete as appropriate) in hand, unbelievably tired but with a smug grin across your face. Your only concerns are whether it’ll be tears or a pooplosion that was going to come next to spice up your day, not which appliance is your offspring grabbing for or what room have they managed to sneak into in the blink of an eye. Or, the latest game of ‘climb the stairs’ (we need to come up with a catchier name) for the 30th time that day, but I guess we’ll take anything to make her tired at times.
Everything is interesting
Looking back, Ivy was always an easy baby by all accounts. Outings, pub visits, wedding and parties were relatively straightforward; we’d set up base, find the facilities and we were good to go, you’d still get ‘the look’ from people that suggested you were the bravest people on the planet for going to social outings with baby in tow, and trust me did I milk the reaction every single time, ‘yes, it is I, hero dad out in public with my child. Bask in my glory’ (I joke of course). All in all life was easy, until now. By no means is Ivy difficult, in fact she loves sleep as much as her mother and food as much as her dad. But to our little girl who is discovering the world for the first time, everything from door handles to dog tails, stairs to makeup and everything in between is now interesting. We’re at the point now where everything has to be poked, prodded and pulled to understand its purpose in the world, something the dog particularly enjoys, sorry Archie! And the thought of being fixed to one location other than to eat? Well you’d have more luck rallying ravenous piranha’s to a formal sit down meal at a restaurant.
“No shit Sherlock” I hear you cry… “raising a child is hard work, duh!” that’s not my point. Like Ivy, time is moving fast and she’s now what we refer to as a “proper little human”, I don’t know what she was before, but her interactions with the world and her desire to get up and go is fascinating to watch. In amongst the pride, the worry, the excitement of her changing it’s hard to wrap your head around just how much these little humans develop in such a short space of time.
The walking isn’t quite there yet, I’d say the “drunken straggler with a kebab in hand on the way back from the pub at 2am” is the level of balance shown when Ivy stands. But the desire to get up and go is admirable and impressive. It takes me right back to all the parties where I’d look over at the poor stressed bugger of a parent, hunched over and chasing their Tasmanian Devil around, cutting conversations short and trying to control the chaos left in their little one’s wake. I realised how easy we had it then, and realised this weekend at a friends party that I was THAT parent, fairly stressed, hunched over, chasing Ivy round the garden only to give in after a couple of hours and take both of ourselves to bed.
With every milestone accomplished and every bit of development I think life becomes a little bit more of a challenge, but it definitely becomes more entertaining. So bring it on Ivy, just know that I’m expecting even more dance moves to follow shortly after you’ve mastered walking, as we have your mum and dad’s wedding in a few weeks.