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Grand New Things

February 22, 2012

When Jane was 6 months old, we sat her down for her first meal. She’d been getting ready for weeks, watching us eat, practicing chewing on nothing, playing with a spoon. Her first meal was rice flakes in breast milk and she was pleased as punch.

The first night after we removed the bars from her crib, converting it into a toddler bed, she was beside herself with excitement. She couldn’t believe what she was looking at.

She’d throw all her stuffed animals on the ground, a situation that was a disaster for all involved on many a previous night. But this time, instead of rattling the bars and screaming until somebody came and put her toys back in, she’d get out and get them herself. Again. And again.

We’d hear the door open, pad pad pad, little feet at the top of the stairs, slowly creeping down, looking between the bannisters at mommy and daddy trying to enjoy their short window of freedom. Gasp! Dawning horror. We had no way to control her! She could get out of bed any time she wanted and there was nothing we could do about it!

I went upstairs and sat with her in a chair at the head of the bed, behind her dresser, where she couldn’t see me but she knew I was there and ideally took comfort from that and would settle down.

She quickly developed a game—she’d lie down and stick her head out the side to look up at me from around the dresser, giggle, then pull back. Stand up to look down at me from over the top of the dresser and giggle. Repeat, repeat, repeat as only a toddler can.

She couldn’t settle down, couldn’t sleep, like a kid on Christmas eve. But no—she got her present, then got excited and couldn’t sleep. Like a kid on Christmas morning living backwards. Like if the guy in Memento were played by Benjamin Button.

I sometimes think with sadness to the day when we run out of grand new things. That moment of stunned happiness as her world gets bigger in some simple way, not just new or even unexpected, but completely unimagined.

Walking, facing forward in the car, riding a pony, sleeping without bars. At some point, it’s all doomed to become normal. The “mind blowing new thing” as a concept will be over.

From → Jane

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