Monday, December 14, 2009

Marks on the Wall

A baby’s growth is both incremental and relative. Often times over the last 12 months I have looked at James and thought, wow, you are so small. I’ve tossed him in the air and thought, you are so light. And it’s taken a visit from someone who hasn’t seen him for a month or so to comment on how he’s grown before I can see it, and I’ll go, oh yeah, so he has.

I visited my sister the other day. She has a new-born, 6 weeks old and he’s so small. I’ve noticed this before, the extreme comparison of my son to other freshly hatched kidlings. But, how do you notice something that’s under your nose everyday and grows so slowly? It’s like grass … or hair … or fingernails, it’s only when they reach a certain point you notice it and you go, something needs to be done about that.

And so it is with Tall James. When did he get so big? I didn’t notice it until the other day. He discovered his tippy-toes. And a new world of fun opened up to him. A world in which his parental fun-stoppers had previously denied him access. Suddenly he has become able to reach for things, which until now, were stored safely out of reach.

The other day I was in the kitchen when I noticed this development, I cast an eye out into the lounge/dining room to check on a quiet James and I noticed across the top of the dining table a hand was furtively searching for … what? I don’t know and neither did James. All he knew was that this was a place where goodies were stored. And so his hand, extended above his eye level and resembling Thing from The Addams Family searched for stuff, success came in the form of the computer mouse.

So in the week or two since Crafty James revealed his new talent there have been some notable consequences of his achievement. The base camp altitude for objects d’art and objects d’clutter have either risen or been relocated to central positions, i.e. the higher the better and if that’s not possible, away from the edge of the table or bench will have to suffice.

Hitherto perfectly safe and secure items such as the cords behind the CD player are now items of interest and curiosity and are subsequently pulled and yanked until the whole system comes crashing down. We have a 3 foot high Christmas tree, yet it is only 6 inches from touching the ceiling, such is its elevated status this year.

Even thought we have the red medical book that keeps a record of his weight and length progression, they’re just numbers and when kept in a table they don’t mean a lot. I mean, they’re not relative to anything. You need to be able to compare the development to something. I guess that’s why parents create those measuring marks on the door jamb in the kitchen. Personally I can’t stand them, dirty markings, scratched into the gloss with the name of the child and the date or they’re age written down. And as the family expands so the markings become compressed with more information and there might be 3mm difference between one recording to another which requires a steady hand to squeeze the new information in.

Now James’ has decided on his own unique scale and key to record his growth. It requires a set of dirty hands and his biggest stretch, with the resulting marks left behind on the wall, cupboard, fridge etc etc recording his development. And his proud as punch parents are able to marvel at the cleverness of their son. “Look honey” I say, “James can leave dirty marks just below the light switch, last month they were only on the window sill.” And My Sweet replies, “They grow up right under your nose.”

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