Learning Curve / by Christina Rosalie

I am starting realize that the early baby months---when Bean has been a pre-crawling little bundle easily carried from place to place--gave DH and I a slightly warped sense of what it means to be a parent. I mean, thus far we have managed to retain some of the grace and adult-only sensibilities that keep us on par with our non-baby friends. We have a white chair in our living room for example (what the hell were we thinking???) and CDs on the bottom shelves of the entertainment center. Sometimes we even have fresh flowers in a vase on the coffee table. Cats and magazines lie on the floor unsuspecting…

But most of all most of all, we still live with the illusion that we're COOL like we were pre-Bean.

But this week we're realizing with a great deal of trepidation that a shift is about to occur. We know that it's only a matter of days really before we're forced to become parents for real. Parents with safety plugs in the outlets, toys scattered across all horizontal surfaces and (possibly) a regular bedtime routine for Bean that includes more than a hand washing, and some lullabies (the boy ,manages to get himself DIRTY now. Not sure how. And he's fighting sleep these days like nothing else!)

All this because Bean has gone and figured out how to INCHWORM his way across the floor. Not really crawling---more army cadet style belly dragging, but man it gets him where he wants to go. And he he's working on going vertical. And sitting all by himself.

And this is fun of course. Thrilling even, to watch him drag his belly across the floor with determination. But also it fills us with a gaping feeling of worry we're unaccustomed to.

This is what it means, isn't it? To be a parent.

Bean has suddenly entered the frightening terrain of being able to get hurt---on his many adventures with gravity, he bangs his face into the floor, just after doing a gorgeous downward dog. Or slams his cheek hard into the wall after making a great bunny hop.

And when I sit down to think about it, it isn't becoming UN-COOL that has me feeling edgy and unsettled, really---though I know our chair's upholstery is totally doomed, and I'm well aware sippy cups and blocks are going to outnumber wine glasses and pretty pottery around our house from here on out...What really has me is the sudden stunning realization that I cannot control everything that happens to my baby boy.

Until now, my body was nearly his entire geography. Now, the world is. And my heart, it expands each day with love, with worry, and leaves me feeling breathless.