Lessons from my daughter #27.
Over the last few weeks I have wondered why baby steps are called baby steps. By the time a baby starts to walk they really stop looking like a baby and those first steps walk them straight into toddlerhood. Or at least, that is so in Miss L’s case.
Our baby who is no longer a baby is about to turn one. She feeds herself most meals, pats Rex the dog when his head is turned, is free with smiles but stingy with cuddles, loves to chew on my hair and delights in restyling it for me, has grown enough of her own hair for piggy tails, fits into size five shoes, does her business on the potty, turns pages in books at the appropriate time, plays at the park and sleeps in her own bed at night time when she feels like it. Most of all she loves to walk, especially when everyone is watching.
Tonight, after dinner, she crawled out of her high chair and onto the table. At first she was willing to sit and play with the unused spoons but soon she found a new game. She stood to her feet and began doing her wobbly little march from one end of the table to the other, launching herself at the nearest person when she reached the edge. There were laughs and applause aplenty and sweetest of all was Miss L’s triumphant grin. I’m afraid our little one is a born showgirl.
It was easy to exercise in the early months after my heart condition, especially when I had a standing appointment two mornings a week with the cardiac nurses for rehabilitation classes. Sure, it was early and cold and a long way to drive but it was a schedule and my name was getting marked. It’s much harder now, when no one is taking attendance records and I’m the only one keeping score.
This morning was a bad morning. I have yet to figure out the magic combination that determines whether a morning is good or bad. It has something to do with quality (or lack thereof) of sleep, time of waking, time of eating and time of taking meds as well as how active I have been in between but this morning I definitely got it wrong. My blood pressure was off digging to China and every breath, even lying down, seemed too much. And of course, Miss L chose this morning to have a runny nose and be fussy and clingy. I tried to amuse her. I tried to ignore her. I tried just to cuddle her. No luck. Finally, in desperation, I put her in the pram and hit the road.
It hurt. I was walking at a snail’s pace but it hurt like I was running a marathon. My muscles refused to cooperate, my feet tripped on the slightest rise, my every breath burned my chest and my head spun to the point that I wasn’t sure if I was pushing the pram or it was pushing me. It would have been really easy to turn around and go back to bed. But I didn’t.
Miss L has put months of practice into this walking business. Much of it has been for an audience but there have been many hours of standing and sitting and standing again completed in the quiet moments when it would be easier for her to just sit and play with toys in her reach. Instead, my girl goes for the one just beyond her fingertips. And then she goes for the next and the next and the next. And then, tonight, she marches across the table in all her chubby toddler legged glory.
The funny thing about low blood pressure and heart medication is that the best cure for lethargy is exercise. Of course, that is when you least feel able to exercise but if you can push through the rest of the day looks so much brighter. And push through I did. I may not be tap dancing across the table tonight but I had a good day. So take a toddler step, and then another, and who knows where you might end up.
I’d love to know, what is it that you struggle most to push through?