Saturday, June 23, 2007

Walk On The Mild Side

It’s happening. My little girl is growing up. Yesterday, at the library, GK stood up and took a few steps all on her own. And then last night, with a house full of friends, she toddled from chair to couch and back just to prove that she could. How fitting is it that her first real steps would be at the library? Probably tired already of Beatrix Potter and Cinderella, she decided to stand up and walk over to where they keep the Fitzgerald, the Twain, the Vonnegut and, her favorite, Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

What drives this urge to walk, this need in us to be bipedal? Is it as base as food gathering, hunting, the simple desire for sustenance, survival and independence? Or is it to bring me things? “GK, bring me the remote. GK, grab a beer from the fridge on your way back in here. GK, walk over there, smack C on the back of the head and tell him, again, to chew with his mouth closed.” Yeah, that’s probably it, she wants to walk at a year old to start on errands for me. It’s perfect timing, too, because the other three, while they’ve mastered walking and talking and are potty trained, have also learned a certain amount of reasoning, acquired much free will and seem to be understanding just when and how to ignore me. So I need a new one, one that is so enamored with mobility that she will be willing to do and go almost anywhere her newfound powers will take her and for any reason.

GK has been a very good baby. A good last baby for us and I believe it is bittersweet for her mother to watch her take these first steps and hear her saying her first words. These are memorable occasions, and they’ll be the last for us. No more first steps, no more first laughs, no more first words. I do not share this bittersweetness. I need things done. I need the trash taken out, the lawn mowed, the kitchen painted, and a new alternator put in the Volvo. And I need most of that done tomorrow, so GK better find her sea legs but quick because there’s a short amount of time, I’ve found, between those first, unsteady steps, and the first instance of insubordination.