This column appeared in The Herald-Sun in February 2014:
He sits on the runner rug in the dog trot.
He’s taking a breather next to the windowed door that leads to the back stoop of our house in Watts-Hillandale.
It’s been a long trip of about 30 feet from the crib in the bedroom into the hall that leads to the kitchen.
John Michael – now 8 months old – is crawling.
But our son’s not satisfied with creeping around the house on his hands and knees.
His eyes shift, inevitably, up the door to that shiny brass handle he’s seen Catherine and me use time and again to escape into the outside world.
He wobbles, bracing himself with his right hand against the door frame, before he stands on two feet. He starts slapping the glass window panes in the door with his free hand.
He looks again at the handle. Still too far out of reach. But he has to know that soon – SOON! – it’ll be in his grip.
Because everything’s happening so fast now.
Just a few months ago, he was this adorable little person who was content to be cradled in our arms. He ate, slept and filled diapers. At night, we tucked him into his crib and off he went to dreamland.
He’s wriggling every time we put him on a changing table, making us sometimes wish we had an octopus for a nanny, because what you really need with a rambunctious little boy like this are tentacles. Two arms just aren’t enough.
And he’s talking. Nothing intelligible yet, of course, but he’s chatting up a storm in John Michael-ese. Often, he’ll make these hissing raspberry-like noises that sound a lot like Sleestaks on the old “Land of the Lost” kids show which, I swear, we haven’t watched together yet but almost certainly will.
He’s eating more solid food, while bottles of formula just help supplement his diet.
Now, the crawling and standing are upon us. He loves to walk around the house, with me or Catherine propping him under the shoulders.
Friends remind me that climbing’s not far off, either, and everything becomes a potential ladder. Opportunities for disaster abound.
He’s mobile. No turning back now.
With that mobility come the mishaps. He’s still trying to master sitting down from a standing position. From time to time, he bumps his head against the bars of his crib or topples back on the floor.
He doesn’t spend a lot of time weeping about those incidents, though, even if they leave a bruise or two.
He’s a busy little guy, determined, with places to go and things to see.
Doors to open.
We’ll do our best to make sure he’s ready for what awaits him beyond those doors.
Wes Platt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-419-6684. Follow on Twitter at @HS_WesPlatt. Connect on Facebook at facebook.com/wesplattheraldsun.