I read in a “Parents” magazine article recently that, right around age 1, children often uncover some kooky pastimes like head banging, carpet brushing, and unexplained spinning, amongst other sporadic behaviors.
Jai fits a little too well into this category.
My baby has some unique habits, no doubt etching her into our family’s Museum of Memories as “Most Likely to Do Something Super Strange.” For one, she cruises around on movable furnishings, pushing them along her route: trash cans, lamps shoved from side tables, deserted sippy cups, plastic chairs from Jrue’s play set… When we prop her up on her feet to attempt a solid standing component, she grows cooked spaghetti for legs and melts back down to her knees.
We can usually find her crawling, wandering aimlessly around the house, with no tangible destination in mind. She likes to follow Jrue around and will do so until he makes her mad or until she is disinterested. Then she is off to trail daddy.
These activities further indicate developmental milestones and are not necessarily something she truly seems to like to do.
My baby girl has appeared to have found floor scouring to be truly her favorite recreational activity. Her competitive nature, and practice schedule, makes it what we deem her sport of current choice.
I support her athletic pursuit. Here is why.
Jai’s constant inspection and raking of the floors casually trick us into admiring her eyesight and perseverance. Her eyesight is impeccable…she can see something to nibble on one centimeter in width and depth. She can encounter saltine crumbs and earring backs and segments of a wayward leaf. She doesn’t care if a finding is metal or paper or completely unpalatable. I have intentionally planted clear pieces of something or other in obscure locations to see if she uncovers them. Not only does she retrieve the item, but she pops it into her mouth and comes to find mommy to make sure I fish it out of her mouth safely.
It’s much in the way a puppy brings a chicken leg from a plate to its owner. It’s a strange quality taste-testing that I have grown to expect. It’s what we do.
On the same grain, Jai does not give up her pursuit, especially if we pluck something away from her grasp. She does not take to this rejection well. In minutes, she is in motion, performing her super crawl to attend to the place the treasure was last seen. If it is not there, she makes a verbal indicator of dissatisfaction.
As challenging and trying as her efforts on our floors are, and as much as we have to vacuum to keep her out of true harm’s way, it is, nonetheless, interesting to witness. My daughter is like a young primate, picking at the carpet and tile, grooming them free of odd particulars, as if scaling through another mammal’s fur.
In this way, she is, essentially, helping mommy clean.
I will always cheer and wear the jersey for that.