Ups ‘n’ Downs

At nearly nineteen months the little fella has learned that life isn’t just about the horizontal, that a whole new dimension of ‘vertical’ is within his gnarly little grasp. Now everything from the ground up is a climbing frame, and he doesn’t give a shit, really.

Until recently we’d sort-of been enjoying a period of uncomfortable ease, in so far as he could be left unattended for very short periods with specific toys in designated ‘safe zones’. I realised one day that, for the past week, I’d actually been able to prepare food without having to constantly check he wasn’t about to eat a wall socket.

Then, on the very day, he turned nineteen months, I casually watched him struggling to climb onto a chair. He’d grabbed hold of the bottom stile and was trying to pull himself onto the seat, waggling his chubby little legs in the ether in order gain momentum. After a couple of minutes of puffing and gasping, he finally made it onto the seat, his face beaming with victory. Thirty minutes later he could get onto the same seat in under five seconds, later that day I went to get a mug from the cupboard, I turned around to discover him standing on the fucking kitchen table about to pick up the Sabatier knife I just been using to chop up his tea. My hair almost fell off.

Stuff that was once inaccessible poses a challenge -I thought I’d sorted all this ages ago- now everything has the potential for lethal consequences anew. Once he’d figured out that the chair will grant him access to a brand-new dimension (with the sky quite literally being the limit) he discovered that by moving the chair next to the shelf, table, burning-death hob, he could, with a skip and jump, have access to virtually anything under the ceiling in seconds. Fortunately, the chairs are the cheap Ikea sort that fold-up, so that’s what we have now, folded-up fold-up chairs that lie folded on the floor until we have cause to unfold them for, like, sitting on.

Oh, you can’t walk around in bare feet anymore unless you’re constantly moving. If you stop a small child will toddle over before dropping to a crawl in order allow his head, with widening jaws, to fall down onto the top of your foot and bite down. The more you yell the funnier he finds it, what is even more concerning is that he’s a master of stealth, armed with the knowledge that if he attacks when you’re not expecting it, you’ll yell even louder with surprise.

Who taught him that and why? Though I suppose it might come in handy down the line when he’s prowling the streets.

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