Due to Extenuating Circumstances

Adventures in Unplanned Parenthood

Standing Orders

Baby has decided he simply will not crawl. This is a thing he politely declines, thank you all the same. However he’s pretty interested in standing, which of course will lead to walking. He understands the essential mechanisms required; he can put his right foot under his butt, use his arms to creep up the couch, then heave himself up so he can support himself on the cushions of the couch. The problem, as far as I can tell, is his left foot. It keeps rolling inwards.

I thought it would help if I gently pushed his left foot onto the ground and gave him something fun to reach for as an incentive. First I tried a cute song where I sing as I softly push his precious little toesies into place. Failure. He has a big yellow truck he likes to push around so I set it on the couch and we try standing again. Right foot planted, hands balanced on the couch and… nope. Left foot caves and he falls on his butt. Try again just the same and…no good. Maybe the truck isn’t a good enough incentive? I put the remote up there. Like all humans born male, he feels an instinctive gravitational pull to anything that will control a TV. 75% of the way there…damn. Complete mission failure due to insufficient support on the left. By now he’s frustrated and I figure the last thing he needs is pressure. So we abandon the game and I run to answer the phone.

When I come back, he’s crying. Oh my goodness, what’s wrong? Did I push him too far? Is he frustrated? Is his left ankle too weak? So I try to comfort him and move on with our play session. This is weird though. He really is crying and now he looks like he means it. So, crying cessation checklist please. Hungry? No. Teeth hurting? No. Nose running? No. Diaper wet? No. Well, wait. That’s weird. His diaper is dry, but he’s stopped crying. “Are you hot? Does that feel better, if we have a little Naked Baby Time?”

Sure enough. I peel off his pants and onesie and set him back in his play area on the floor. But. Malaise. Not crying, but not happy. I press his favorite buttons on the yellow truck. Meh. I put the fuzzy red football in the truck and make it vroom around. Meh. Let’s put on Daniel Tiger! You LOVE the opening song! Meh.

Good Lord, kid, you have got to work it out yourself because I really need the bathroom. In the 37 seconds I’m gone I hear him make some babbling sounds, then a giggle, then hysterical laughter. What’s this ridiculous magic? What have you found that Mommy couldn’t provide in the last 45 minutes?

I come out of the bathroom, drying my hands on my hair because (let’s face it) that’s where my recent beauty regimen is peaking at the moment, and I see the source of my son’s delight. He is in his diaper, with the nearest trashcan completely upended, and he is eating dirty Kleenex. There are bits of soggy tissue on the carpet, in his hair, around his mouth, up his nose, on the cat, and strewn around the couch cushions.

My son, whom I am lovingly guiding towards a fulfilling future of reaching milestones at appropriate times without undue pressure, will not stand for a fun song, a truck or a TV remote. But he will stand to take bits of snotty Kleenex out of his mouth and grind it into the couch cushions.

I’ll say this for myself: I did replace the tissue he was eating with an unused one. My child might be naked, knocking over trashcans and eating garbage while I watch Daniel Tiger and drink Jameson’s Irish Whiskey straight from the bottle, BUT. By God, my son will be eating a CLEAN Kleenex before he grinds it into my couch cushions, thank you very much.


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