Posted by: dave | August 13, 2011

Baby descending a staircase

As I might have mentioned before, Anya is damn good at climbing stairs. She is now up them like a flash pretty much every time we put her near them, and she can even climb over the bottom bar of the baby gate with barely a pause–tricky, because it’s pretty much at chest height when she stands on the step below.

But coming down is a lot harder. Though she climbs up the stairs several times a day, she’s never made it back down again–in fact the most she’s managed is about halfway to the babygate near the bottom.

This isn’t a physical limitation. She’s really good at the reverse-leg-dangle, look-over-your-shoulder way of getting down from stuff. She’ll quite happily get down from much higher objects, such as our bed which is taller than her at mattress level.

No, the problem here is mental. When you’re climbing stairs, you are moving closer to a visible goal at the top. Whereas descending a staircase, at least in baby-fashion, is the opposite. You’re moving away from something that’s in front of you, towards something that you only glimpse in those glances over your shoulder when you’re probably concentrating on not falling.

Basically, Anya can’t get down the stairs because she has the attention span of a goldfish. She’ll get about five steps down, then think: “Oh my god, there’s a CAT sitting at the top of the stairs. I should go and investigate.” And having done that and descended the same five steps again, the same cycle starts all over again. She’s like some sort of toddler reverse Sisyphus.

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