Here’s the thing. I’ve spent a lot of time learning how to pull myself up on things. I’ve spent a lot of time learning how to stand up in my crib. But nobody – and I mean nobody – tells you how to get down again.
Have you ever had this happen? It’s three-thirty in the morning. You’re alone in your crib. You decide to pull yourself up and have a look around, you know, to see what’s shaking at three-thirty in the morning in your room. It could be exciting outside your crib – you have no way of knowing until you stand up. Mel Gibson could be trying to resurrect his career, right in your room. Tom Cruise might be climbing up something, because he does all his own stunts, and if he’s doing them in your room, you won’t want to miss that. Jodie Foster could be announcing something really personal, or bizarrely defending Mel Gibson – does anybody know why she defends Mel Gibson? Seinfeld could be working out new material in your room – you don’t know till you see. So you pull yourself up to your full height – which at ten months is getting to be impressive – and you look around.
Unfortunately, there’s not much going on in your room at that hour, no movie stars, no Seinfeld, no anti-Semitic outbursts, nothing, but now there you are standing in your crib, grasping the bars tightly with your little hands – and you get stuck. I’m talking STUCK. As in can’t get down. Can’t lower yourself because that’s too complicated, can’t just let go because you’ll fall on your ass, which is softly wrapped in a diaper, but it’s an inelegant way to get down, and nobody has told you yet how to remove one hand, then the other and slowly lower yourself back to your expensive, soft cocoa-mat mattress. Has that ever happened to you?
Of course not. Because you’re not a baby. It has never happened to you. But it happens to me every night, and when it does, I scream my bloody head off for help. My legs get weaker and weaker, steadily bowing under my now impressive weight, my little arms tire, my fingers go white gripping the crib, all trying to prevent a potentially injurious drop of, well, it must be eight or ten inches on to that soft mattress. But I can’t count, so I don’t know that isn’t dangerous. Tears run down my chubby little chin as I howl louder and louder for assistance. And wouldn’t you know it? The only people who can help me are fast asleep. What are they doing asleep at three-thirty in the morning? Don’t they cover each other’s shifts, propping their chin in weary hand, eyes fluttering closed, popping open, hearing the cry of a child in distress, and making a heroic rescue?
It never happens like that, but eventually somebody comes in and talks me down off the ledge.
By the way, I hear my parents talking about something called teething a lot. If anybody knows what that is, would you drop me an email or comment? Thanks.