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Newton's First Law

Newton’s First Law of Motion states
that an object in motion tends to stay in motion.

Apparently, he’s met my daughter Cora.

I’m telling you, I cannot stop this child. It was bad enough
that she started crawling and pulling herself up so early, but then
came the cruising around, looking for something else to hold onto
to keep her moving forward. And now, she’s fashioned herself
a home-made walker.

We’ve got a square activity table in
the kitchen that I count on to keep Cora distracted as I prepare
meals or continue to unpack the kitchen. She loves all the buttons
to push, all the knobs you can turn, and the way that she can, by
standing with her baby belly leaning against the thing, operate the
whole table without having to hold on for balance.

It was this very stance, as a matter of fact, which led her to her
biggest discovery: if she leans into it and pushes hard enough with
her little legs on the smooth wood floor, she can make the table
move and take her where she wants to go.

Babies, start your engines.

Our wood floor runs throughout the kitchen and for most of the open
hallways on the first floor, which means Cora can complete a good
half circuit before being thwarted by carpeting. I’ll be
working on dinner and hear her playing contentedly just around the
corner for perhaps five minutes before the tell-tale scooching
sound begins. Looking up, I’ll spy her pressing the activity
table with Sisyphean-like concentration towards her goal: another
toy, perhaps, or the edge of the couch where she can grab on and
use it to walk into the living room. This whole table-cum-walker
has opened up a new world for her, and frightens me to death;
I’m simply not baby-proofed enough for that child to have
free access to so much of the house. Yes, she can get anywhere
crawling, but I only need to have sharp objects clear for perhaps a
foot off the ground; moving her from crawling to standing means I
have to plan ahead with objects on chairs, coffee tables, piano
benches – the list is endless.

Of course, even Newton ceded that an object wouldn’t stay in
motion if acted on by an unbalanced force, and for Cora it’s
carpet, thank goodness. She’ll hit the start of the living
room carpet and stare longingly across until, in desperation, she
drops down and deigns to crawl. But I’m telling you, those
chubby little legs would be ceaseless if she had her druthers.

And there’s a sign that much worse is to come, unfortunately:
the stairs. As it is, Cora will crawl to the bottom of the stairs,
pull herself up to standing, and cruise back and forth along the
floor, holding the bottom stair. Today I rounded the corner and
caught Maddie going up and down the first few stairs, talking
earnestly to Cora the whole time. “What are you doing,
hon?” I asked Maddie.

“Teaching Cora how to go up stairs,” she explained

This statement would not be half as frightening if it weren’t
for the look of intense concentration on Cora’s face as she
listened to her sister. Methinks it’s time to get out the


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