down the stairs.

Atticus has not yet thrown himself down any staircases. He pauses, slightly bent at the waist, at the top of the stairs. Usually. If he is looking.

He can climb down using the railing, and he can scoot down on his bottom. But his preferred method is to wait, hand in the air, until someone comes to help him dau (down). This happened recently over at our neighbors’ house and I walked over to assist, amused and unhurried. My neighbor saw it differently. “How great is it that he knows that someone will come and help him?” she said.

Well, when you put it that way, it is pretty great. It certainly makes me feel better about my failings and the fact that I tend not to baby him when he bumps his head. It makes me feel better about things like Monday morning, when his routine was thrown off and he had a meltdown of epic proportions during day care drop off. He is surrounded by people who love him and love to help him. We have woven a network of careful attention and he knows it.

Frederick Buechner says that when Jesus told us to live like children, he meant living with open hands and without preconceptions, because children are better at telling a phony from the real thing. The idea that I can’t necessarily fake it until I make it has been one of the most difficult aspects of motherhood for me. More than once, I have gotten the feeling that Atticus can see right through me. Neither of us much likes what he is seeing. Perhaps that’s why his open hand at the top of the stairs means so much to me.

Yes, little one. I will help you down.

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