Probably one of the most intimidating moments of being a new mother is realizing that the tiny, completely dependent person you gave birth to has a mind of his own. This mind, with its unique desires and opinions, starts to be unveiled rather rapidly once baby becomes mobile!
Around the 6-7 month mark, before my little guy could crawl but when he was feeling particularly frustrated with sitting wherever I happened to deposit him, was probably the most difficult time for both of us. He would cry and fuss a lot! He had no real way of communicating to me what it was he wanted and I couldn't always move him from one random place to another at the drop of a hat, hoping to get it right. I also felt bad that he could only rock back and forth but couldn't actually reach his goals; it was like his fledgling crawling abilities were mocking him.
He's been a crawler for about two months now, and the situation is very different. Now, he is suddenly an independent little man! He is typically as happy as a clam, crawling about the place and exploring new things. Along with that, though, he now cries and fusses whenever I attempt to hold him or buckle him into a car seat or stroller. Now that he has uncovered the vast potential of moving wherever his little heart desires, he wants his freedom- all the time!
On the one hand, I'm grateful to have an independent baby. He is curious, adventurous and has such joy and excitement for each new experience! It is entertaining to watch him scamper across a room or down a hall and see the world from his point of view. I feel that I am learning about who he is when he selects a particular toy over another or chooses which direction to crawl.
On the other hand, he is admittedly a bit of a troublemaker. In only his short time as a crawler, he has already decided that he would prefer to walk. He climbs up chairs, tables, dressers, people's legs, counters, boxes, etc. You name it- he will climb it. Then he will use it as support in his attempt to walk around. His legs are incredibly strong (we've dubbed him our "little linebacker", since he gained weight ridiculously quickly in his first months and has, what seems to me, unnatural strength for someone so small), but his balance isn't the greatest, so he easily topples over. I used to stand right behind him to catch him and protect him from the slightest fall, but I am learning to let him learn- and that occasionally means letting him tip back onto his bum when he tries to use the toy box to stand for the hundredth time. I figure that, as long as he is safe, this is probably an important lesson for him to learn. Still, it is a bit difficult to see him growing more and more independent. It's surely a sign of what's to come: years where "Mama" can no longer solve every problem with a cuddle and a comforting word and when his challenges become greater than a choice of whether or not to climb up the couch or to play with his stacking blocks. I guess I will just have to make the most of these crazy crawling moments while they last!