"Temporality is part of the truth" -- Chuck Klosterman

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Drunk Walk

Giving toddlers a reason to
walk since 1990.  
Xander took his first step two days before his first birthday. I was holding a Seinfeld DVD that he wanted (such good taste already, right?), and he forgot to hold onto the bed as he reached for it.

It's a little over a month later and we've had to reconfigure the house. We have many surfaces in our small dwelling, the better to stack books and soda cans and iPods. He can now get to the lower level surfaces: coffee tables, end tables, corner cabinets and shelves. One shelf is restocked at least five times a day with his Boynton board books that end up on the hallway floor every couple hours. He also ends up in the kitchen cupboards. Our Tupperware cabinet has never seen such disarray.

Well, are you?
So we've had to move things around. Hide our books. Block access to the Christmas tree. We bought a fancy "look ma, no hands" gate for the basement staircase. (We could have just put the actual door back on the hinges at the top of the stairs, but it's just fine out in the garage behind stacks of boxes.)

Clearly, he's learned that there's a whole new world up there just above his head. Crawling is so passe, so...demeaning. He'll do it, but that's only because he's still in the drunk walk stage. His walk is so tentative, so awkward that he looks like he's two steps from a face plant. And that's not much of an exaggeration. He really does that. Face plant. And often.

He'll trip over the odd book or block, but he'll also lose his balance stepping onto the rug or smooshing the goldfish cracker he dropped from his high chair or, really, over nothing. Sometimes he'll use that whiny moan while pulling at my legs whether I'm sitting or standing then get tripped up on my toe or shoelace and be suddenly head over heels. What's amazing is that the drunk walk doesn't end in more tears. He's learned to catch himself so he'll just sit with a hard bump onto the wood or tile floor, or if he's falling forward he puts his arms out in time. Unless he slips. Then there's a definite skull crack. And most often, he turns over and gets back up and moves on with his life. The drunk walk is relatively painless.

Now consider this: He stands up like a big kid. Most toddlers get on their hands and knees, and with the butt up in the air, they stand by pushing off their two hands. They know the perfect Downward Dog. Not Xander. He kneels, then pulls one knee up with the foot on the floor. With the strength of that one foot, he stands. How does he have such balance that he can stand from one leg, but he stumbles around the house like he's had too much spiked egg nog?

Back in the day, they wore
revealing shorts to show off
their muscled thighs.
His physical therapist (remember he was a little preemie not so long ago) says that she's only seen a one-year-old stand up like that twice in her career. He's not supposed to do that until he's three. He's going to have Maradona thighs, I just know it. (That's Diego Maradona, not Madonna, in case you misread that.)

This week he's taken to pulling on his mother's hand and walking her into his bedroom where we've put an old TV with a built-in VCR. We ended up with some Baby Einstein videos, among others that I won't watch, but Xander loves them. (Too bad we don't have Seinfeld on VHS, right?) He doesn't really need his mom with him, but it's a hoot to watch him turn the TV on and put a video in. Good thing it starts the video automatically. He doesn't know Play from Rewind, but he will soon enough. He won't need us at all.

And yes, there's a TV in his bedroom. You got something to say about that?


  1. The distance to the floor is the real key...if only it were so close when I'm staggering around in the dark looking for the bathroom light!

    Ahh...the joys of toddlerhood! It is so far in the past I dare say it never happened - it went by way too quickly.

    Enjoy each step and every adventure...all too soon they are off to college!

    Cheers, Jenny

    Merry Christmas to you and your family.


  2. Oh my gosh, Seinfeld. I remember watching that when I was grade school. I probably didn't understand it, but I did watch it.

    I hear a good way to baby-proof a tree is putting it on a table that is above grabbing height.

  3. @ Jenny: Those times when I'm already close to the floor when I fall ARE much less painful, for sure. And Merry Christmas to you.

    @ McKenzie: Seinfeld deserves another round. I would guess it would be funnier if you understand it.

    Our tree is too big to go on the table. So it's in a corner blocked by furniture. He'll figure a way through before we take it down, I bet.

  4. I didn't have a TV in my room until I was eleven!


    Then again...I didn't really care too much for the noise maker until I was in school when I was three. Up until that point the best thing in the world was crawling into my Dad's lap so he could read to me.

  5. I love television so I approve of this message. Sounds like you are a great father.

  6. @ Chanel: It's teenagers who don't need TVs in their rooms. And it's pretty cool when your child climbs into your lap with a book to read. I bet your dad loved it.

    @ Michael: Thanks. And your moniker seems to get more and more impressive. It's nice to have the approval of a supra-genius.

    @ Bryan: Are you ready for the airing of grievances?

  7. You really caught me with that Maronda/Madonna thing. Imagining a toddler with Madonna thighs made me go "Ew!" all day long.

    Let the games begin!

  8. I can't believe you knew enough to prevent the Madonna misread. I TOTALLY read Madonna. Way to know your audience.

    Also? That video? Ridiculously adorable.

  9. @ darev and Nikki: I think I was reviewing before posting and might have thought myself that I had written Madonna. So I had to add the clarification. Plus, it gave an opportunity to add a sexy soccer photo.