Baby Gym

This morning, I took Edith to a baby gym class. She’s been more and more active at home; all she wants to do is parkour herself along the furniture and do pull-ups on the rocking chair like she’s Linda Hamilton in her jail cell, so I figured she would love a place to crawl and flip and climb around as much as she pleased without me hovering over her and pulling electrical cords out of her grasp.

Imagine my surprise when we arrived and Edith turned into a wilting violet, clinging to me and refusing to get out of my lap. There were four other babies there with their parents, and Edith stared at all of them, fascinated, but whenever I tried to set her down, she spun around and clutched at my shirt with both hands as if I were shoving her out the front door with a bindle.

Edith did not want to jump on the trampolines or crawl up the ramps or climb on the mats or crawl through the tunnel or walk along the balance beam. She condescended to take her turn on the baby zipline, but she remained poker-faced throughout. She did have fun in the swing shaped like a baby whale — as I’ve mentioned before, Edith loves a swing, and she would have hung out in that one for the whole time.

Eventually, one of the other parents said her name (we introduced all our babies, and the parents were all very nice), and she bustled right over to him like “finally, an adult.” I realized, a bit embarrassed, that she then expected him to hold her and pay attention to her, even though he…had his own son. This is all Edith knows — adults are giant moving beings who are focused on nothing but her 24/7 with single-minded dedication. I’m realizing I’ve set her up for a bit of a rude awakening as we get out into the world more.

Eventually she warmed up a tiny bit and crawled a little distance from me. In that huge space full of all sorts of climbing toys, I was excited to watch her explore, and what she would investigate first!

Guess what it was?

Some tape on the carpet. Couldn’t get enough. There were several rectangular yellow pieces of tape in a circle, and she lavished attention on each and every one. The rest of the place might as well have been a howling void. The class ended and all the babies and their parents left, and only Edith was still there, patting that tape and scratching at it, happy as a clam. She looked up at me, beaming. “At first when we got here, I had no idea what you were thinking,” she seemed to be saying. “But now I get it! This place is wild!”

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