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My 7-month-old is pulling himself up on couches, tables and us!
Q: My 7-month-old is pulling himself up on couches, tables and on my husband and me. The problem is that he constantly falls and starts crying. Our home is totally childproof; I know if I leave him on the floor with his toys he’ll be fine while I wash the dishes. But now that he is pulling up on stuff I feel I can’t walk away from him. What should I do when all he wants to do is climb and pull up on things?
Bryce Aurora
A: Let him climb and pull—and watch him closely. When children first learn to stand and walk, it is as though they devote their entire reservoir of energy to moving around. Believe it or not, some children, when they first learn to stand, will pull up in their cots during the middle of the night and resist going back down because they cannot bear to abandon their newly acquired skill.

At this stage, a playpen is a marvelous helper. Playpens have acquired a bad reputation, as we have been encouraged to give our infants plenty of freedom for their motor, or large muscle, activities. But a playpen is wonderful when a child is in this developmental stage. Whether you use the square kind or the round kind with mesh sides, there is a rail on top that can be grasped and used for moving around. You can put a few toys inside, which will be largely ignored because of the passion for standing, and do your dishes. Put the plastic cover for the bottom inside to soften his falls. If he falls, make some comment like, “Well, if you stand up you’re going to fall down sometimes” but don’t make too big a deal of it.