Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Sophie loves crawling around the basement. Exploring the different textures and surfaces with her eyes, hands and, of course, her mouth. I will often watch her from the comfort of the chair at the computer. But after a bit, she will get too far and start chewing on something unpleasant, like a doorstop or the pedal on the exercycle, and I will join her on the floor for some closer monitoring.
While the majority of the basement is carpeted, there is an area between the laundry room and the back door that is tiled. This transition holds great intrigue for our little bean and when I put her down on the floor she generally makes right for it. Once there, she will first test the water by slapping the tile with her hands while her body is still firmly on carpet. Once she is certain this new surface is solid, she will pull her little body fully on to the tile. I'm not sure if it's the cool on her belly or the smoother surface to slide around on, but she really seems to enjoy that area.
This morning she had done her usual routine and was working her way towards the back door. After a few minutes, she had maneuvered herself such that I could only see her legs, so I went over and laid down on the carpet close to her. The adjacent laundry room is where the kitties take care of their business and it is not unusual, fastidious though they are, that they track a small amount of litter out. So as I'm laying there parallel to the floor, I notice some litter on the tile. Dutiful housekeeper that I am, I weighed the different cleaning options. One included going upstairs for the broom (out) or using the small hand broom that was close but would take quite a lot of sweeping to get this area clean (also out) and opted for the dustbuster that was in the laundry room.
I grabbed the dustbuster and turned it on. Sophie was only about three feet away and was facing the other direction, so she didn't see me as I came up behind her with it. When I turned it on, the poor thing screamed and jumped a good foot into the air. Which is no small accomplishment considering she had been flat on her stomach at the time. I attribute it to her highly developed stomach muscles. I immediately turned it off and she stopped crying. I sat it down on the floor and picked her up to soothe her a little. After a few minutes, I put her back down and she crawled over to it and touched it with the gentlest of caresses. So I mistakenly thought that she might be prepared for me to finish my task. This time she was slightly to the side of me, watching. When I clicked it on, she cried out again and moved to shield herself from it behind my feet. This is the first time she has ever acted afraid of something. I use the hair dryer on an almost daily basis while she is in her bouncy seat in the bathroom with me and she never seems troubled by it. Likewise drills, the ice dispenser on the fridge, the dehumidifier and various other equally noisy objects. So I was surprised by her reaction, but what surprised me more was what followed.
After the second time, I sat down on the ground and she immediately climbed up into my lap and clung to me for comfort. And just like that, after months of playing the role of mother, I became THE MOMMY. Not just the person who feeds her and changes poopie diapers and cleans up the variety of messes she creates, but the person who embodies safety and happiness and comfort. And I'll tell you something, it feels good. It feels damn good.