On Wednesday, Finny learned a new trick and my house suddenly became a cracked head waiting to happen. Up until this point, Finny has been as mobile as an inchworm. His stomach dragging across the floor has significantly slowed him down in his explorations of the first floor, so I can usually carry the trash to the garage or make a run to the bathroom knowing he won't make it very far while I'm gone. But this week, we saw the beginnings of a standing, walking, falling Finny, and all of a sudden, we live in a house full of corners.
It seems I am always in the kitchen when Finny gets bold. I was in the kitchen when he rolled over the first time, in the kitchen when he pulled himself onto the lower shelf of our TV stand, and this week I was in the kitchen when I looked over and my worm was standing, adoring himself in the glass of the fireplace door. Both of us freaked out as the two of us tend to do when he does something new and I went running into the family room exclaiming, "Do it again!" Tuesday, my lightswitch trick amazed him. Wednesday, his fireplace trick amazed me. I put him down on all fours in front of the fireplace and watched as he approached the fireplace again. I have never seen such excitement on his face as I did at this moment. He gets excited about Cheerios, his cup of milk, and his lift-the-flap books, but this excitement was new. It was the excitement that comes with pride.
I watched as he put one hand up on the lip of the quartz fireplace and gradually scooted himself up on his knees. He hung out there for a second as he tried to ponder his next move. Although I don't remember the first time I stood on my own, this scene was so familiar as so often David and I find ourselves in the same position hanging out on the rock wall, trying to guess where our next sturdy handhold will be. Finny figured, as he so often does, that his best bet would be to use his mouth, so I watched as he gripped the edge of the fireplace step with his mouth and used that for balance as he swung his other hand up. The whole time he kept looking at me, mouth-gaping, smiling, laughing--"Mom, do you see this? Can you believe I'm this awesome?"
Once he had two hands and two knees, he was able to push up to standing and man, was it the greatest. Until I realized how much it would suck if he lost his balance. As I glanced around the room, it was suddenly flashing red with hard and sharp things everywhere and I realized I would have some room doctoring to do.
The next day as David and I watched him do it again, David commented, "He's taking too many risks now." But these are risks we want him to take, aren't they? And if he didn't take these risks, he would never experience the pride that comes with growing, learning, achieving.
But pride comes before the fall.
So right now, I will try to make his landings as soft as possible to avoid a conked head or a cracked skull, but I also recognize that I will not always be able to protect him from the fall, and I need to deal with this anxiety. Because taking risks will teach him pride, but falling will teach him caution and humility and he needs these to grow as well.