Sunday, January 13, 2008

Suddenly She’s Doing Stuff

Sometimes I like to engage Zoe by lying on my back on her play mat and closing my eyes for thirty to forty five minutes. During that time I become a human jungle gym. She’ll crawl all over me, back and forth, over the top, until either she offsets herself and falls on her head and screams or lands on my crotch and I scream. Sometimes, rarely, she’ll get bored and actually play with one of the dozens of toys spread across the floor. What she prefers to play with, however, is the pile of newspapers that “we will get to, as soon as we have a few moments,” or… well, basically anything that isn’t a toy. She is more likely to play with her toys if I am joining in, but if I am sitting on the couch (or engaging her from a horizontal position with my eyes closed while on the couch) she will need to be near me, climbing up the side of the coffee table pulling everything to the floor. There is basically a six-inch strip directly down the center of the coffee table that she can’t yet reach, but the coffee table only remains organized for about ten minutes in a twenty-four hour period. The rest of the time it is covered in crap that needs to be shuffled about whenever Zoe is awake. If I’m sitting at the dinning table she will need to be crawling around the legs of the table and chairs looking for old Cheerio’s to eat. And if I head into the kitchen she will follow me in and head straight for the cats bowls.

At ten months old, she is curious about everything and is so distractible that she gets distracted from her distractions. She has to explore every bag within reach, every cabinet that is open, and every speck on the floor. She can pull herself up, so anything that is within her reach she will grab. She has also been making climbing motions with her legs. She seems to know what needs to be done, lifting one leg to pull herself up, she just can’t figure out all the mechanics of the task. It won’t be long before I find her on top of furniture that was previously safe for all the stuff we pulled from lower spaces.

She has also recently started performing tricks on command, such as clapping and dancing (her dancing consists of a cute little head and shoulder wag). Yesterday I wanted to demonstrate--to a complete stranger at an Old Navy store--Zoe’s shuffling crawl, so I put my cell phone down on the floor and told her to fetch, and she obliged. I am now training her to fetch my slippers and the newspaper so I won’t need to get a dog. However, even though she has learned a few tricks, she still doesn’t understand spatial differences. When she gets to the top of the stairs she recognizes that it requires some different action but can’t conceptualize what is required. After she ‘touches’ the open space for a few moments, she will put her hand out as if she is going to crawl and just leans herself forward. I think she is trying to place her hand down on the next step. It’s a good theory but doesn’t explain why she’ll crawl right off the edge of the bed.

See photos of Zoe at

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