Sometimes, the things that children are proudest of don’t show up on any milestone chart.
This past Christmas, my in-laws gave Sprout a little plastic, Toy Story-themed chair. He was too small to use it at the time, so we just put it in the corner of his room.
A few weeks ago, Chris texted me with the omnious words: “He’s plotting.” Sprout realized he could potentially climb up onto the chair, although he didn’t actually have the coordination to do so. More importantly, he also realized he could drag the chair from room to room, giving him a convenient but risky stepstool. As we would like to keep him from scaling the furniture for as long as possible, the chair was banished to our room.
Until I left our bedroom door open the other day. Noticing he was suspiciously quiet, we peeked in and saw him perched up on his new throne, grinning. He was so pleased with himself – and not falling off the chair – that we couldn’t help but bring it out.
Since then, he’s been obsessed with sitting on the chair, in only the way a toddler can be. He’ll climb on and off it over and over again, either crossing his legs or swinging his feet. Once he’s on it, he’ll smile and clap his hands, congratulating himself on his achievement.
In fact, he was so distracted by the chair the other night that he refused to drink any milk before bedtime. With the chair in his line of sight, he only wanted to be sitting on it. He was willing to drink his milk while sitting on it, but doesn’t have the balance to both stay upright and lift the sippy cup to his mouth. As some kind of accident was bound to happen, I put the kibosh on that idea.
His sitting preoccupation has even extended past his chair. This weekend, he loved climbing up on a short stone stoop in our downtown area and was frustrated at the one that was too tall for him.
While walking is obviously a much bigger milestone, this is just more proof of Sprout’s burgeoning independence. I think he likes the chair so much because choosing to sit on a piece of furniture without any help at all is something Mommy and Daddy do. That aspect especially revealed itself this weekend, when my parents, Chris, and I were sitting around on the couch and living room chairs. Sprout dragged his chair from across the room and planted it in our little semi-circle, ready to join in the conversation.
There’s also an element of ownership. While we think of the high chair and crib as “his,” they’re really tools for us, furniture that makes our lives easier. In contrast, his chair is definitively his – he can use it on his own without help, and no else can. He isn’t in the “Mine, mine, mine” phase yet, but I’m starting to see the start of it.
Who knew that a simple chair could mean so much?