I still remember that curious post I saw on my Facebook feed a few years ago. An old high school friend with a young baby shared a picture and made a reference to “tummy time.” I was mildly amused, since it was a cute photo and I like alliteration, but it wasn’t until I was closer to having a child of my own that I caught on and realized that tummy time is an actual thing. Since I failed to grasp the concept the first time, I can only imagine what a baby thinks during tummy time.
Based on the fact that he eventually learned to push himself up, crawl, walk, and climb all over the couches in order to jump off like a rocket ship, I’d say that my son got the hang of tummy time (and relatively quickly, might I add in a totally proud, absolutely not all that entirely boastful way). As a mom I, of course and am happy to say, have the most adorable pictures to prove it. Still, in those early weeks and months, while my kid seemed to have it under control, I was going against a bit of a learning curve. Should I lay on the floor with him? Sit a few feet away to give him space? Put my face right next to his and try to see if his eye color has changed at all since the previous day? If only someone had warned me that parenting would involve tough decisions.
Thankfully, my son managed like the boss baby he was. While I was spending my time wondering how to best facilitate tummy time, I have a feeling my son was thinking something along the lines of the following:
So much of an infant’s life is spent being held, swaddled, strapped, and snuggled. I can only imagine what those first few moments of freedom felt like when we place you on the blanket and gave you free reign to wiggle, squirm and you know, do the same things you did in those other positions just while laying on your tummy.
“Oh, Just Kidding. Apparently, I’m Only Free To Lay Here.”
I mean, technically, if you wanted to do something else, we wouldn’t stop you, my dearest son. However, as you will quickly learn as you continue to age, "wanting to" and "being able to" are two completely different things. I know, I know; you’re a bit young for life lessons, but that’s the cruel truth behind tummy time.
"A Little Help, Please. Could You Maybe Hand Me A Pillow Or Something?"
Of course, a pillow is reasonable. I just hope it doesn’t cramp your style that I’m going to remain two centimeters away to make sure you don't fall asleep it doesn’t block any of your breathing passages.
"The World Is So Different From This Angle"
Perhaps we could all take a cue from babies and tummy time and always try to look at things from new angles. Political discord? Relationship woes? Deciding which show to watch next on Netflix? Time to lay on the floor.
"Anyone Who Can Do A Push-Up Has My Utmost Respect And Admiration"
Me too, son. Me too.
"Can I Have A Snack, Please?"
I haven’t done enough yoga to figure out how to breastfeed you while you’re down there, little guy. And by “enough," I mean “any.”
"Please Stop Cheering, I’m Trying To Concentrate"
But how else are you going to know that I’m championing your efforts to move your elbow another half-inch to the left?
"I’m Supposed To Figure Out Crawling This Way?"
Um, yes. Yes, you are. But don’t worry, you’ve got plenty of time. Let’s keep working on shifting that elbow more.
"This Blanket Is So Soft And Nice, So I’d Rather Just Rest My Head On It"
OK, this is entirely fair and I can’t fault you for this life choice. Like, at all. In fact, I also prefer to lay my head down onto things as opposed to holding it suspended just above them. Like mother, like son.
"The Point Is Just To Struggle The Whole Time, Right? If So, I’ve Got That Down."
That’s one way to look at it. I’ll write in your baby book that today’s the day you mastered positive thinking.
"Wait, We Have To Do This Every Single Day?"
Yup. Sorry I didn't, you know, warn you sooner; like when you were still in the womb. I mean, I thought about it, but I didn’t want to do anything that might encourage you to delay your birth any longer.