Wednesday, April 27, 2011

We are a Baby Gate Free Home! - - for now at least

This past Monday, we took the baby gate down from the top of our stairs and who freakin' knew - - we took it down and our girlie went up and down the stairs, two different trips, without assistance nor an escort, and without a single utterance of protest! She did it with great enthusiasm and confidence.

BACKGROUND INFO: A couple weekends ago, I had gone upstairs without her, cheerfully calling to her to come follow mommie, but she remained downstairs. In fact, she threw herself on the floor and she began to cry. Calling for her from upstairs, I encouraged her to come on up, that she could do it, but I could hear she wasn't convinced, still crying. I kept calling for her, maybe for a minute or more, but her crying only intensified. I came halfway down the stairs to see what was going on and to ask her, "Ahhh, what's the matter punky? Why are you so upset?" I found her clutching one of her polar bears, a lil' heap on the floor, absolutely in tears, sobbing, and refusing to come even near the stairs, begging me for help. This was something new and shocking - - this was NOT how my lil' chica had dealt before with my going upstairs without her, asking her to follow me: She used to simply follow me.

Over the past couple months she began asking to be carried up or down the stairs, and over the last month it got to the point where she would always ask -more like demand- that she be carried, and she would almost panic when forced to negotiate the stairs without immediate, direct assistance from one of us. Not without over-the-top encouragement would she even attempt the stairs, and more often than not, she wouldn't approach the stairs to go either up or down them unless one of us was right there with her to go the way alongside her.

I'd been curious as to where her new reluctance to use the stairs was coming from, but after the aforementioned weekend, I became worried and downright concerned as to what the heck had changed for her. For the past two weeks I began to suspect she didn't want to deal with the baby that gate at the top of the stairs, fearing it as an obstacle that throws her balance off, not wanting to risk a fall.

The fact that she went up and down the stairs and up and down again, all on her own each time, in the first ten minutes after the gate was removed, um, yeah, I think it's safe to assume the gate had indeed been the problem.

Earlier tonight, aiming to retrieve a favorite book of hers that she'd left in her room, she headed up the stairs all on her own, and once she got to the point on the stairs where she would have to turn and continue to move further up and out of my sight, she called down to me. With a brilliant and sparkling smile, wide-eyed and focused on my face, she nodded her head assuredly, telling me she'd be right back.

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