The Tenth Month


I was sitting at a table, reading quietly, when the chair opposite me moved. I looked at it, wondering if I was seeing things. I wasn’t: it moved again, a little further along. Then it moved backwards. Then forwards. Then backwards again. The chair was doing a waltz. I looked under the table...Zane was sitting next to the chair, his arms grasping the legs, intently focussed on sliding it along the floor.

Once Zane became mobile, he had taken it upon himself to make everything else move about as well. His life had gone 4-dimensional. Not long ago he was a static body watching the world orbit him from a single perspective. Crawling has enabled him to move around and look at all planetary objects from other interesting angles, to see what they looked like from the back, the sides and from underneath. What’s more, he can now create his own angles, moving whatever furniture he can, enjoying the power to rearrange the world in his own way. The result is usually a big, but happy, mess.


Zane can now stand. When he is in the vicinity of any solid object that can support his weight, he uses it to hoist himself up and straighten his legs. He loves it: standing gives him some time away from ultra-ground level and let him be more “adult”. The interesting thing is, once he has attained his lofty height, he doesn’t immediately enjoy the new panoramic views available to him; the first thing he does is to look back down at his feet. Perhaps he gets a new perspective of his feet with them being a further away, or is impressed that something other than his little dimply butt is supporting his weight.

Once he is done enjoying the aerial views of his feet and legs, he likes to move them. However, he doesn’t indulge in any of that walking business. Oh, no. He does Elvis. Zane shifts his weight a little to one leg, pivots the other outwards, and rocks his hips and free legs about in a miniature impersonation of The King. A-huh-huh.

Setting boundaries 

Zane has begun to understand the meaning of “no”. When he is doing something he shouldn’t be, such as trying to eat a shoe or a small animal, a stern “NO!” checks his progress, making him look up in mild shock that such harsh words are being directed at him. And it generally works so far; he tends to stay away from things he knows he shouldn’t touch. I say generally: on occasion, he just thinks we’re not serious. Our firm warning will make him stop what he is doing, look at us for some seconds, and then he’ll laugh, a laugh that says: “Hehehe, you’re just kidding, right? I really can give this table cloth a good yank, can’t I?”

He is not yet a year old, yet sometimes his eyes betray the maturity of many years. At play Zane glows with childish joy, his face enraptured at throwing things about or making noise with clattering toys. But then, sometimes he doesn’t; during some childish diversions he just looks serious and unimpressed. For example, I was once playing a jolly fun game with him - bouncing a balloon on his head - and he was most unenthusiastic. He was unmoved, looking at me sideways, unflinchingly, as though I were a petulant child. The game was not quite so enjoyable to me after that.

A new storage concept 

We adults are far too organised. We all have numerous pieces of furniture - drawers, shelves, tables, cupboards – to orderly store all of our things. Zane has helped me see the light: put everything on the floor! Every time Zane finds a set of drawers, he opens the ones he can reach and pulls out each item in the drawer one-by-one and deposits them on the floor. Coffee tables? A waste of space. They are the perfect height for Zane to practice his standing and walking; he pulls himself up to methodically grab each article – whether it be a coaster, a magazine, or a plate – to unceremoniously drag it onto the floor, barely giving them a second glance once they’ve reached their new resting place. Why have cupboards when your saucepans can be accessed from the ground? And shelves: take all those books off them so you can view the walls in their entirety. Why have any furniture at all? Zane Minimalism: maximise the use of your floor space!

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