The Kid is "this close" to walking, which means he spends a lot of time on the ground. He's mastered standing assisted and even the signature Frankenstein's Monster impersonation of early walkers with the aid of his push toy, so he is ready to move on to the next step. Unfortunately, there are lots of bumps and drops before he can take that step.
Luckily, it's true what they say: babies bounce. If I dropped on my tailbone that many times a day I would be in serious trouble. Of course, I don't have the added cushion of a diaper. I've also stopped wishing we had harwood floors. I may have to fish rogue carpet fibers out of his mouth from time to time, but our well-worn carpet adds a little extra protection when he goes face first.
And while The Kid might get a little red spot on his forehead when he tips forward using his push toy or forgets that the edge of the coffee table is between him and the toy he is reaching for on the ground, it's usually gone before my mommy guilt has subsided. However, he's not the only one with bumps and bruises.
A few months ago a friend with a daughter a few months older than Thomas came over and asked where I had hidden all of his toys. She said her house was covered in baby toys. I assured her that I wasn't that great of a housekeeper. The Kid was only rolling at that point and it's hard to roll around while hanging on to toys, so his toys stayed put. He also couldn't pull himself up to dig through toy bins and pull books off the shelf. Once he could do both of those things, our house turned into a minefield.
The Kid is not happy if toys are in bins, books are on the shelf or stacking toys are stacked. They must be emptied, pulled down and unstacked. That's fine. He's learning and I'm happy to let him. There are worse things that could be covering the floor - like his banana from breakfast that accidently got kicked from the linoleum to the carpet. The only problem is, while he can crawl all over them to get to the next toy bin to dump, I have to walk - and if you know me, you know I may not have mastered that skill back when I was The Kid's age.
I got the short end of the genetic stick when it came to joints. A giant growth spurt didn't help matters, so I tread carefully. So far I've been lucky, no sprained ankles since he was six months and I did that tripping over the pattern in the rug at work. There is just one problem: that cute push toy the aforementioned friends so generously lent us. While it may be teaching The Kid to walk, it has a hobbling effect on his parents.
With the exception of his jumparoo it is the largest toy he has, and you can't exactly put it on the shelf. He also needs a big space in which to use it and our biggest expanse is the hallway so that is where it hides - in waiting.
While carrying a baby it is pretty much impossible to see what is directly underfoot, so my husband has stubbed his toe on it more times than I can count. But this week I one-upped him. I was carrying The Kid to play in the living room and stay out from under his dad's feet while he made dinner when I managed to step on it. I always thought those alligator mouths would be the dangerous part, I was just waiting for a pinch, but no, stepping on their wooden, plastic and toxin-free tails is what got me. And of course, I didn't step on it from the back, nope. As I tried to get off it my shin caught the handle.
I swear that those little alligators planned it. But while the bottom of my foot and shin may be bruised, in the end I won this round. I managed to not sprain my ankle, drop The Kid or swear.
Alligators 1, Mom 3.