It’s so true what they say, the grass is always greener…
For months it seemed the only question* I was being asked was: “Is he crawling yet?”
To which the answer was a firm “No.”
*Technically, this wasn’t the only question I was asked. Additional questions that have been proffered in my direction of late include: “Are you happy with your current broadband provider?”, “Would you like to add a drink for an extra 75p?” and, genuinely, “Can I tell you all about our Lord, Jesus Christ?” For the record, I answered “No” to all of the above.
Sam’s mum and I spent many hours worrying about his crawling (or lack of it). We did it in that textbook modern parenting not-worrying, worrying way.
“Should we be worried he’s not crawling yet?”
“No. I mean, it’s not a competition.”
But it is a competition – even if you don’t want it to be. We all silently seethe at the kid (there’s always one) who skipped crawling and is walking already – then again that precocious so-and-so is probably tap dancing, speaking basic French and learning to whip up a convincing bolognese too!
So, you can imagine, we were thrilled when it all clicked and Sam started to crawl in earnest. Boy can he crawl! He’s like the Road Runner is those old cartoons, there really is no stopping him.
Then it sank in. THERE REALLY IS NO STOPPING HIM!
Our joy lasted all of… oh… five seconds as we realized the size of our house has suddenly diminished and we are now sentenced to an interminable period of chasing around after Sam as he launches himself into harm’s way with gleeful abandon.
Wasn’t life so much easier when he wasn’t crawling?
Wasn’t that grass so much greener?
Wasn’t that a lawn far easier to tend?
After a quick Google, it became clear that there was no going back. We couldn’t encourage Sam to be a non-crawler for a bit, to make our lives easier. We were stuck with the situation.
The house, which up to this point had been our oasis, suddenly looked like a giant trap; filled (Home Alone-style) with dangerous obstacles for our new crawler.
Everywhere I looked were sharp corners, lethal hinges, top-heavy bits of furniture and… and… well you get the idea.
Time and again, I’m drawn back to those David Attenborough documentaries that show how – via nothing more than instinct – the young of other species emerge into the world with a sixth sense for avoiding danger. Mother Nature must really have had a chuckle when, rather than giving human young a street-smart savviness, she decided to turn them into Frank Spencer like klutzes with the ability to find a crisis in any situation.
As a kid, one of my favourite films was Who Framed Roger Rabbit. There’s a scene, at the beginning of the film, shows the hapless Roger trying to look after Baby Herman, who (for comic reasons) dives headfirst into one lethal situation after another. Click here to view. As a child, I thought this was a ridiculous skit created to provoke laughter. I now realize that I was wrong. The scene is much closer to a public information film, a documentary reenactment of the real life chaos that parents are perennially just moments away from. All it needs is a Michael Burke voice over and the Roger Rabbit sketch could belong in the old TV show 999!
God it’s terrifying.
Oh and while I remember. How the hell do you change a nappy on a baby that won’t lie still for a more than two seconds? Just when you thought you’ve got the whole nappy thing down, they move the goal posts once again! It’s like trying to change the tyre on a Formula One car as it whizzes by at top speed! I literally don’t have enough limbs to hold Sam still, clean him and apply a new nappy. It’s impossible!!!
As you might already have guessed, my focus has now moved onto fantasizing about new and much greener grass – when Sam can walk.
Things will be so much easier then…
Who am I kidding?
The Out of Depth Dad