True self-discovered, un-propped, independent sitting comes later than many people think–later than common recommendations based on Baby being propped. Here’s how it can happen in a typical progression. Time spent in each element can vary greatly.
PART 1 (Hey, we gotta get to know gravity first . . . stay with me!)
Rest into Loved-One’s arms, into gravity, bonding with my support, loved.
Turn my head. Fall into gravity. Roll roll roll rollllllll….
On tummy: push happens.
Hey! Push! pushing into the earth, lifting head, supporting on forearms
Pushing up up up!
Push push push slide.
Slide in a circle, wheee!, pivot on belly
Pushing up up UP! Up high on hands
Push push push sliiiide. Slide—
Push. Slide BACKWARDS. Darn it! I want that!
Toes chit-chat with the floor. BIG TOE plays with the floor, has conversations.
My weight shifts over to one side, frees one of my arms to play.
Yeah! Hangin’ out with one knee bent out to the side. Playing. Curious.
Push backwards + one knee pops out to the side + big toe chit-chats with the floor + I want that toy = forward.
FORWARD! Got it!
Toy (or Mama, or Mama’s lunch) and one arm free with a toe-push forward, coordinating hand with eye.
PART 2 (We’re getting there…)
Pushing pushing, all around, in circles, backward, forward.
Body weight shifts onto one side, then the other.
Slip ‘n Slide!
Pushing, squishing into myself and unfolding out.
Push, weight-shift, on my side-ish, twist, and upward.
! Push and upward on my side!
On my side, on my side…
Again. Tummy, then side, then up on elbow and hip.
Again. Tummy, then side, then up on hands and hip.
Look how high I am!
Measuring, sensing, reading my distance from the floor. Back and forth. I know where I am. And how I got here.
Down. Up. Down. Up. Down into the floor. Up out of the floor. Balancing, playing, whoops!—down.
Push. On side, up on hand, on hip, hands free.
Hands free! Hahahaaa!!! I’m all the way up here with both hands free!
Oh, everyone says I’m “sitting.”
PART 3 So many options! From sitting, Baby can go down to his tummy or reach onto his hands and knees.
Some babies play in a “weeble” motion.
Down the way I came. Up the way I came. Down again. Or, up one side and down the other. Down one side and up the other.
Sit, whee go off to the side, put weight on both hands, sit on the other side, whee, spinning in a weeble circle!
And that, my friends, is the dance of independent sitting. The typical expectation is to prop-sit babies; but I support you in not propping Baby in sitting, but rather witnessing with joy as she discovers it on her own!
Eliza Parker is a certified Infant Developmental Movement Educator®, Aware Parenting Instructor, Body-Mind Centering® Practitioner, and Feldenkrais® Practitioner.
© Eliza Parker 2012, All Rights Reserved (Links are welcome. If you’d like to share my post in your blog or materials, please ask permission.)