The weather this last week has been very pleasant. In mid June we had a day or two of one hundred degree weather, and I resigned myself to spending the rest of the summer inside or at the pool. After having Cairo reach the hundreds early on and stay hot for a long, long time, I was used to spending the whole summer indoors.
But then it got cooler - mid and upper eighties. And for the last four or five days it has been in the upper seventies. So I've been taking the children for bike rides around the neighborhood because you can't really waste such lovely weather, especially when it comes in July.
At some point in our walks, we end up in a landscaped garden area that we like to call a 'park.' It may not have playground equipment or even benches to sit on, but the children use the retaining walls for climbing and jumping and I use the grass for sitting so it works well enough for us. The park even has a few pets - two tortoises and an occasional rabbit - so it's exciting enough for everyone involved.
Today after parking, or rather ditching, their bikes the children ran off to find the turtle, climb the walls, jump off the walls, hide their teddy bears in the bushes, ride bikes, and engage in various activities that they find amusing. After years of being followed around by my little ducklings, I am enjoying children that will run off to play to leave Joseph and me some time to hang out together under a shady tree.
Joseph will be eight months old next week, and he acting like a very typical eight month-old baby. While we were driving a few days ago, the girls were highly amused by playing 'what will Joseph chew on?' They would think of something completely ridiculous "How about an airplane? Will he chew on an airplane, Mommy?" and I would give them the same reply every time "If he can reach it," to which the girls would dissolve into fits of giggles that only stopped when they thought of something even more ridiculous to ask about.
I've started up the 'book monster' conversation with them again, "Joseph will be crawling soon, so you need to pick your books up off the floor. Because if he gets his hands on them, he will chew on your books and ruin them. So pick up your books. Now."
Because Joseph has been pulling himself up on his hands and knees for over a month now, and with my other children that has been the step right before crawling.
But that's where's he's been stuck now for over a month, and it's driving him crazy. Today while the children were endangering their limbs by jumping from four-foot high walls (at least Edwin had enough sense to jump from a lower one), Joseph and I hung out on the grass. It was really quite pleasant, warm enough that the breeze was cooling, sunny enough that the shade was welcome. While I lay on my back and enjoyed a job that required lounging on the grass, Joseph pulled himself up on his hands and knees.
Interested to see what he would do, I put a sandal in front of him, just out of reach.
Rock, rock, rock. Reach out a hand, stretch as far as possible. It doesn't quite touch. Rock some more. Reach out that hand again. Rock more violently. See if whimpering sounds help with the arm extension. Nope. Pivot to the side. Reach again. Rock some more, this time going backwards. Reach as far as the hand will go. Finally collapse onto stomach. Grab the sandal. Mmmmmm, leather. Yummy.
Have it taken by Mom, just to start the whole exercise again. Rock, rock, rock. Extend one back leg. Extend both back legs. Whimper some more. Go back to rocking. Try and crawl up Mom's leg to see if she's got something more interesting than sandals. Nope. Rock again. Face plant in the grass. Hear a strange snorting sound from Mom. Go back to concentrating on that sandal. Have. To. Get. The. Sandal.
After ten minutes of watching him, I took pity and just gave him the sandal. Probably not hygienic, but it made him happy after all of that effort with absolutely no effect.
All of my other children have been lazy when it came to crawling. They hated tummy time. No interest in trying to move anywhere, or to change their situation. And then around eight or nine months, they would suddenly notice that there were other things that they wanted to see, and then they'd start crawling.
Joseph has been interested in moving since he was five months old, and he just hasn't been able to get it. He watches his siblings as they run around, ride bikes, and jump off walls, and I can feel his eagerness to get up and go run with the pack. Unfortunately for him, he just can't seem to get that crawling thing.
I think if he were my first, I would worry. But he's my fourth, so instead I just laugh at him and enjoy the time we have to sit together, in the shade, on a perfect July afternoon.