Mary is being punished for learning to walk by being moved from the baby room at school to the toddler room. She has a week left in the baby room and then she will be ripped from everything she has ever known and moved to a room with no sippy cups, formal "work time", and probably a perfectly nice, loving teacher, but certainly not Miss Laurie, who I want to come live with us.
Miss Laurie and the director briefly conversed regarding Mary's readiness for the "snapdragon room" as it is called. The older toddlers are fast, they said! But she has three older brothers, they said! Ultimately it was decided that a week was enough time for her to gain some confidence in her walking, pick up a little speed, and learn to move pom poms from one tupperware to another with little tiny tongs.
And let me tell you. We let her roam free a little bit on Saturday at our Sunday School class's annual chili cookoff, which was held in the fellowship hall. One half of the room was tables and chairs and calm adults chatting nicely. The other half of the room was kids zooming around on various wheeled toys and teenagers shooting baskets and shoving each other.
Mary was like Mr. McGoo, shuffling through the chaos, completely oblivious, Frankentsein jazz hands at the ready. This went on for what seemed like twelve days but was probably more in the neighborhood of fifteen minutes. Fifteen minutes I spent having a lively internal debate: should I go rescue her? Would I have rescued the boys at this age? Is the only reason I want to run over there and snatch her up into my arms because she's a girl or because she's a toddler and people are throwing balls around? If I rescue her will she one day avoid risks and hate math and not choose a STEM career? But someone is going to run her over or bean her with a basketball and then I will feel like a jerk! But if I pick her up she will never be an astronaut!
At last reached her goal--the Cozy Coupe at the far end of the gym--and I was liberated from the existential self-talk and free to discuss the merits of ancho chili powder and beans vs. no beans with my friends. She stayed in the protective cage of the Cozy Coupe for some time before swinging a leg out and getting stuck in a half standing-half kneeling position that caused her to shriek so ferociously that the whole gym quieted momentarily. Then I strapped her in a highchair and stuck a bowl of chili in front of her. Which she didn't eat but instead spooned from one bowl to another before asking for dessert.
(In the end, Mary ate two pieces of cake for dinner. Wes was rarely seen without a bowl of ice cream in his hand. My friend Peter found Charley in the vestibule of the fellowship hall woozily leaning on a piano. When he asked Charley if he was alright Charley replied "I just ate a lot of ice cream" and when Peter said "Are you sure you're OK?" Charley looked him right in the eye and repeated "A LOT." There were unconfirmed reports that Charley had stuck a straw in the tub of ice cream and sucked all the melted parts out. I have no idea what James ate for dinner. Maybe a couple bites of chili, several pieces of cake and some ice cream? Also everyone went to bed well after nine o'clock. If you would like any parenting advice, feel free to contact me using the email address in the sidebar.)
(The next morning was QUITE SOMETHING in the behavior department, as you might imagine)
ANYWAY! All this is to tell you that Mary walks now! Which is amazing to watch and also makes dresses fit a lot better.