(You can catch up on G‘s story right here: A Third Baby, Fighting Panic, Connecticut to Oklahoma, You’ve Got the Job, The Birth Story, 95 Degrees, She struggles to breathe, I struggle to walk., The Liquid Diet, Not Enough Oxygen, Getting Out of There, Let’s Party!, Fitting Our Lives into a Minivan, Finding a Home, Remarkably Unremarkable, The Fever and the Screaming, One Answer Leads to More Questions, Her Kidneys, You’re STILL Nursing?)
I remember the day vividly. An unseasonably cool August day, our family had gone outside to play. Our four-year-old daughter, C., ran through the yard, picking “wildflowers” (<– weeds). We were tossing a Nerf football around with our five-year-old son. I was wearing my Baltimore Ravens jersey and had my hair in pigtails. (I told you. I remember it like it was yesterday.)
Anyway, fourteen-month-old G. had been walking along behind her sister, checking out flowers, butterflies, and tiny toads. It was a beautifully unremarkable day in our backyard. My husband called for me to go long and I backstepped deep, all the way to the stone wall border on one side of our yard.
And I saw her.
Our really-still-a-baby girl was climbing the rock wall of the playscape.
I called out to my husband and he took off at a run. My heart was in my throat and I kept envisioning her tiny little body crumpling to the ground below. Yes, it was grass. But… still. It would be a long, long fall for such a small person.
He got to her with me just seconds behind. We stood below her while she deftly navigated that steep climbing wall.
It was the first– but not the last– day I realized we had a fearless child.
A. was our tentative, careful one. He didn’t even really WALK until fifteen-months. Once he did, however, he never fell. He was cautious. He didn’t make a move until he knew he could master it without injury. Not a risk-taker, he was also easy on his mama’s nerves, for the most part.
C. was born so early that she has always had overall low muscle-tone. Her strength and endurance have improved immensely over the years. Let’s face it– she’s held her own on several 5+ mile hikes now. Still, balance, strength, and coordination are not really her strong suits and, as a result, she’ll probably always favor picking flowers or playing “store” at the playscape bench.
Our youngest is, indeed, fearless. Over the years, she has taken to balancing on the backs of furniture, using the railing like a high bar, and doing dive rolls off the couch.
Shortly after she turned two, we knew what we had to do: we enrolled her in gymnastics. It was our hope that it would give her an outlet and perhaps help her get it out of her system in a safer environment. Lord knows our nerves were getting frayed watching her!
From the start, she was a natural. Those are the gymnastics teacher’s words, not mine. The fact that she could pull herself onto the bar independently and hold a pike with no assistance made jaws drop. She had so much upper body and abdominal strength. It was fun, and also sometimes funny, to watch her. G. is not exactly big for her age, so she just seemed so very tiny to be doing these things.
She’s still in gymnastics.
I’ll tell you more about where that’s headed a little bit down the road. (If I’m really lucky, I’ll get some video to show you, too!)