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The Lone Wolf

Kathryn Thompson

Wanda’s learning to walk.  I haven’t sought it nor have I tried to prevent it.  I firmly believe that each kid will learn to walk, run and destroy things when she’s developmentally ready and far be it from me to encourage early adoption of mobility that can never be taken away and will only lead to making her harder to catch.

Now I say we don’t “encourage” the walking but that doesn’t mean we don’t periodically try and get her to amble along between the two of us just to test her abilities and show her that we take an active interest in her activities.  She usually takes one or two steps before grabbing on to one of us to steady herself or falling to the floor in fits of laughter.  Through this uncontained hilarity, she shows us that she is neither physically nor mentally ready for the task at hand.  There is a certain immaturity she shows that has left us doubting her progress.

I didn’t realize how close she was to fully walking until a couple of days ago when I was doing the dishes and happened to catch her out of the corner of my eye walking cautiously across the family room.  Yes.  Actually walking.  She walked several wobbly steps, concentrating carefully, all alone.  When she saw me watching, she dropped to the floor and rolled around like a log giggling while I clapped for her.

She took in my applause graciously and then ceased all mobility-related activities.  I haven’t seen her walk more than a step by herself since that time and I’m starting to wonder why she only likes to walk in secret.  I have four possible theories.

1.  She has a great sense of humor – Wanda knows that hidden abilities can be harnessed to provide future hilarity.  Wouldn’t it be the funniest thing ever if we were all sitting around watching a movie weeks from now and Wanda stood up from where she was playing with her toys, did a perfect model walk over to the refrigerator and grabbed herself a nice cold bottle of milk?  I would laugh at that.

2.  She is a lone wolf – Perhaps Wanda is one of those Clint Eastwood-types who likes to work alone.  She may join the rest of the cowboys to water her horses or smoke a hand-rolled cigar while talking tersely about sand but when it’s time to do the real work, she goes it alone. 

3.  She is a terrorist – Training in secret so we don’t know her full capabilities, Wanda will be able to catch us by surprise, wreaking havoc when we least expect it.  We’ll say, “Wanda could never have done this.  It had to be some sort of biped, someone quick on her feet.  Wanda doesn’t have the capability to destroy the entire house in such a short amount of time!”  Of course, if she’s any kind of decent terrorist, she will claim responsibility for her crime and possibly even explain the twisted reasoning behind it.

4.  She loves us too much – It’s possible that Wanda’s worried that if she lets us know she can walk, we’ll stop holding and cuddling her so frequently.  If she can walk, maybe we’ll actually make her do it.  She’s seen how stiff my back is.  She knows she’s a great fatness in the land.  She can put two and two together.  Wanda – if you’re reading this because you’ve also secretly learned how to surf the internet, please believe me when I tell you that I will continue to hold and cuddle and squish your fatness until you refuse to let me.  I will carry you around like a beloved cripple unless you squirm and beg to get down.  I will not yield with the squishing and the loving and the squidgening.

So there you have it.  I’m raising a clandestine walker, a baby who excels in darkness.  Maybe she’s a superhero, maybe a super villain.  Only time will tell.

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