My parents love to tell a story about my toddlerhood. Apparently, I was a very verbal, chatty, busy little thing (and hey, aren’t I still?) and to keep me quiet and entertained and engaged in whatever task at hand needed to be accomplished, they would maintain this running monologue about whatever popped into their heads.
So one day, my dad needs to change my diaper and I’m wiggly so he starts talking. “Look, Michelle, see how close your changing table is to your crib? Wow, I bet if you ever wanted to get out of there you could just grab the edge of the changing table and reach your legs over to here and swing your butt over the top like that and slide down this leg and you’d be on the floor!” And he thought it was just mindless chatter.
Until a few (hours? days? I’m fuzzy on this part of the story) later, when I took him up on it.
Followed his directions to the letter and shimmied right out of my crib.
Now, I tell you that story to tell you this one.
I’ve been blessed with an amazing little daughter. She’s bright, energetic, verbal, and busy. She’s got a big brother who is always trying to find ways to interact with her, which don’t leave one or both of them screaming and me coming in to figure out the fuss. This morning, Jonas and Susannah were playing in her bedroom, right across the hall from where I sat on my bed, trying to read bits and bobs of the Sunday newspaper.
My ears perked up when I heard this: “Look, Susannah, if you put both your foots there… yeah, that’s it, and grab the top of the crib like this. Yeah, that’s it! Now just reach your knees higher!”
I crossed the hall to observe my wise 4-year-old standing a few steps away — so as to claim truthfully, “I didn’t put her up there! She did it herself!” That boy is starting to plan ahead. — and my monkey of a 20-month-old perched precariously with both shins balanced on the slender top front rail of her crib, hands clinging to the top side rail.
“Now, Susannah, just stretch your one foot down inside the crib!” She did. “Now put your other one in there!” She did. They both started to clap, jump, and holler with joy. “Mommy, Susannah got in her crib all by herself!!!!” Jonas was so proud of his sister – and, obviously, proud of his sly contribution to her achievement.
And I? I speed-dialed my mom and dad to tell them that this little apple has not fallen far from the tree, and ask them to please, please pray for me. Because if she’s this much like me at under-2, what will I DO when she’s 16?