our little gymnast

Guess what the wunderkind did when she woke up from her nap today? Well, first she pooped. And then, she decided to stand up. Right there on the changing table.
I'd changed her diaper, and was turning her over to put her in a sitting position so that I could take off her dirty shirt. Except instead of sitting down, she planted her feet, perfectly side by side like a gymnast sticking a landing, and stood up, straight as an arrow. No bowed legs, no straddled stance. You could see her lining up all those strong core muscles of hers, from the base of her spine up through her neck to the crown of her head, just like they tell you in ballet. And she just stood there, looking around the room from her new vantage point. I was still holding her under her armpits, but I could feel her perfectly balanced and holding herself erect, so I slowly removed all my fingers until just one finger on each side remained under her arms to "spot" her. She stayed there for a good long bit before tiring of the position and moving on to something else.
We have, of course, been practicing with her from time to time, trying to get her to rest on the flat of her feet and get used to the feeling (and grandpa has, as well!). When we got her, if you held her under the arms she would hold her legs out absolutely ramrod straight in front of her, at right angles to her body. You could not get her to put them down. But now she is clearly coming around to the joys of the vertical position. This is the first time she's done it of her own accord.
Tonight after dinner, I put her in the standing position again (her muscle memory picks up on it right away now) and showed her what was lurking on top of the coffeetable. I know this may not be the best idea...encouraging her to think about what she might swipe from higher surfaces (I'm sure we'll come to regret it when she's a little more mobile) but I figured the tradeoff was worth it. She would have a motivation to stand up straight. At her height, if she stands, the coffeetable is exactly at elbow level. Sure enough, it worked like a charm. She stood bolt upright (still supported lightly under the arms of course) and searched avidly around the top of the table, finding a tube of Neosporine and some very interesting reading material, like Colorado Biz magazine, which she seems to have taken a shine to.
So, I think the writing is on the wall. She's still doing some forced crawling practice (which she still doesn't enjoy a great deal) but I think she may walk either before or consecutively with her transition into crawling. Self-starter that she is, having already taught herself to sit up without the help or supervision of anyone, it doesn't surprise me.
Speaking of sitting up without supervision, here's something she does that absolutely kills me: sometimes when she wakes up in the night, we find her sitting with her legs dangling out of the crib, holding onto the bars with both hands like a little prisoner doing hard time. It just makes me hurt inside. This is how she taught herself to sit up, during those long, lonesome hours of boredom at the orphanage - she learned to hook her feet through the bars and pull herself up with her abs. Now, she does it on anything that's nearby - the rungs of a chair, the coils of her wooden learning toy, my ankle...She can also sit up without using her feet if there's nothing nearby, but it's very habitual for her to do the "hook" move. At first when we brought her home, we had a nice bumper in the crib. But we found that she wailed pitifully, pounded her fists against them, and tried to pull the bumpers down because she wasn't able to use her feet to pull herself up when she awoke. Finally, we took them down. She has lived with the bars, learned to use them, and even used them as a learning tool to do her own motor-skill developing for all 11 months of her life in the orphanage, so....we figured no point. She sleeps much more happily without bumpers. Though the site of that little face staring silently through the "cage bars" still makes my heart ache.

Here she is doing the happy dance in her bouncy chair.

Big grin. I have to admit I will miss that huge, wide grin when she gets her lip surgery.


Fliss and Mike Adventures said...

Yeah for Miss Flynn... you are in SO much trouble now... she is like the lion 'Elsa'... you can start singing 'Born Free' cause there will be NO stopping this munchkin once she gets started... take care

Mei Mei Journal said...

Flynn has "smiling eyes" and that won't change with her surgery. She looks like such a happy girl. Her first time parents must be doing a great job!

A Beautiful Mess said...

what a smart and strong girl!

Sophie would put her little hands through the crib slats...killed me:(

Thanks for sharing...now I wish I could just swing by have a cup of tea and vist!!

Hope everyone is feeling better.

kerri said...

2025 Olymics here she comes!
Love the photos, love checking in to see that little face smiling, it starts my day off so sweetly...

Tish said...

the part about her pulling herself up to sitting in the crib made my heart break.

that girl (shelly) said...

Oh my God -- oh, oh, oh! I was on vacation and completely MISSED your trip to China?!! I have a lot of reading to do!

Well, I am so sorry and excited and just completely feeling like a dufus.


Deirdre said...

Way to go, Flynn! I'm just catching up with your blog after our vacation, and I'm tearing up at the photos of your beautiful family in your beautiful home. Huge congrats. Let's get the kids together soon!

Maia said...

Excellent! What a strong girl!

Yeah... the first time we put FF into a crib she looked so devastated that we never did it again. She sleeps with us and the cats have taken over her fancy crib.

Carrie said...

Oh waht a cute picture of her she looks so sassy in the first one I guess she was jumping around Miss M looks so sassy sometime I guess that is why I thought of flynn being sassy-can you be sassy at one years old? her smile is beautiful! she looks so happy with you both! what a great job your doing!

Cavatica said...

It's amazing what these little ones learn and how they survive. Your girl is tough, that's clear.

kris said...

Way to go Flynn!!

Yoli said...

She is so adorable Maia. Look at her, she screams joy. Good job guys!

Duchess of Lanier said...

I'm back to work and missing getting ot read every day. Sorry about your gdr. Hope the meds work quickly for you both. Laughing out loud at your stroller story of her looking for you. Too cute. How exciting that she's standing! Former "coffee table"/now "toy table". Give Sam and extra hug. Good dog, Sam!