|Kodak moment: Bailey Boo and Pops make two|
She cruises about these days, lifting herself up, holding onto anything handy -- a table or shelf, bedroom wall or pile of boxes. It's all about getting from here to there, pushing and pulling and grabbing hold of the moment.
It's tough work, this leaping forward and figuring out the sights, sounds and logistics of life. After all, she's only 16 months old. But Bailey is a happy warrior, laughing and giggling her way around obstacles, gleefully offering up a word or two of gibberish that has recently started making sense.
The road is clear. The future beckons.
There's much to be learned by watching a baby. If lucky, the game begins with health and a little wealth; enough stuff, at least, to keep the focus on the natural and important bits of living -- eating, sleeping and pooping! Bailey's now exploring walking and talking; each day filled with something new and amazing.
So if you're in the game and have a baby around the house, it's an incredible and joyful journey. It can also be peek-a-boo surprising. I'll explain.
Just last weekend, the lovely Miss Wendy and I managed to spend some quality time with Bailey, a day filled with tottering around the house, sliding and gliding and giggling with glee. The plan was for Bubbe and me to watch over Bailey while Lauren and Josh had a night free.
After feeding and watering the baby, reading books and singing songs, playing with blocks and dolls and phones and remotes -- hey, anything with buttons and lights is in play -- standing up and sitting down and rolling about for an hour or so, it was time to put on our jammies and go to sleep. Yeah!
This is probably a good place to mention that playing -- lots of playing -- is a good thing. Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning. It's really the work of childhood. At least that's the thinking of Fred Rogers -- yes, that Mr. Rogers!
I wholeheartedly agree; but I digress.
Bailey, as she is want to do, cried out for a second or two after being gently tossed into her crib; then she rolled onto her tummy, found her thumb and a comfy corner and lightly floated away on a metaphorical cloud.
Here's another observation. There's probably nothing more stressful then a fussy youngster; and there's probably nothing more comforting then a happy, sleeping baby. After all, when Bailey is happy, everyone is happy.
And so it went for the next 12 hours or so, until night gave way to the lengthening and lingering shadows of morning. Wendy and I momentarily pushed aside the light, then grudgingly gave in to the demands of life, stretching and yawning and listening for the morning song of our grandchild next door.
But all was quiet -- too quiet! The sun was rising well above the horizon and Bailey had yet to cry out. It was a good hour passed her usual wake-up call and for an instant a seed of panic took hold of our hearts.
We wiggled out of bed and padded quickly to the nearby nursery, ever so gently pushing back the door. Light streamed into the room and I could spot a corner of the crib, but no sign of Bailey. I pushed the door a bit wider and still no sign of her. The seed was growing
Another shove, swinging the door fully open, and I found myself face-to-face with my granddaughter. Bailey stood with her arms atop one corner of the bed, her head resting comfortably on her hands, a little angel, just about perfect in all the ways that matter. She might have been resting their in regal repose for only a moment, perhaps an hour or more. A look of bemused indifference spilled across her features. Our tardiness was forgiven.
We stared at one another for an instant longer and then Bailey smiled, a gap-tooth grin that I took to mean good morning and where the heck have you been. The day was newly born and grand adventures rested mightily on the horizon. Life beckoned and time was wasting.