Wednesday, September 24, 2008

What's the fun in pretending to walk?

Sonny, at five months, likes to walk. He likes to hop upwards from perch to ever-higher perch, and chuckles as he skips from foot to foot.

All right, since Sonny hasn't even mastered crawling yet, he can't be gambolling about as described. Not unassisted. For the little fella's favourite game these days is what Pa calls 'Walk Walk'. He'll look at Pa, a wide smile forming, and raise both hands in unmistakable invitation. Pa grips him just below the armpits so Sonny can be raised to a standing position. His feet will begin to hunt for a grip and, with Pa's help, he starts to stride forward, his legs firmly pushing downwards in turn, as his eyes flash from side to side.

One might wonder why we don't play 'Crawl crawl' instead, but Sonny doesn't seem to be signalling that he wants help with his efforts there. Not that he isn't trying; as we've reported in multiple posts, he's forever exerting himself in an effort to propel himself forward on his chest, and can already do it when asleep (yep, that's right: Click here for details). But he doesn't seem to be getting any joy out of it; rather, it comes across as a grim but necessary effort. He'll emit loud yells from time to time and even howls of frustration as he fails to close the two-centimetre gap that keeps a toy just out of his grasp.

Why, then, has Sonny already set his sights on walking? We're figuring that humans are just built that way: Instead of focusing on and savouring that which is within reach (such as beginning to walk), we want that which is outside the realm of the possible, too pricey for our budget or impractical given other constraints (like striding along). The current American housing calamity is just this home truth spun out into a massive object lesson: Too many families took on too heavy a debt load so they could enjoy a house that's unnecessarily luxurious, or funded spending sprees backed by the value of a property they assumed could only be worth ever more.

None of this means Pa plans to curtail Sonny's happy Walk Walks through some misguided fanaticism. In fact, perhaps he'll become so enamoured of ambulation that he'll insist on walking rather than crawling, as apparently some babies do. Truth be told, this is sort of a secret wish of ours: It would then take him a lot longer before he'll be able to get around, meaning we'll have a longer reprieve before he becomes a bigger pest.

But we're probably hoping for too much here...


Shirley said...

It's bad for the legs to let them start walking so young!! This is the reprimand that I get each time I let Bri stand up. She loves to stand up and "walk". But older folks like to say that doing so would stunt the growth and make bb's legs bendy bow. What do you make of that? Think there's some truth to it?

Cloudsters said...

Do you know, Enchanted, Pa's mother brought up the same concern last night! She read the post and when they spoke over the phone, she recited the 'bow-legged' warning. Something to do with how Sonny's ligaments and joints were still very delicate and subject to disfigurement. Well, it could be true... haven't come across it in any parenting text though.