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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Toddler, Monkey, Con-Man, Mountaineer

Do you have plantation shutters? I didn't even know what those were a few years back. Anyway, we've got plantation shutters. Lots of them. 'Cause, you know, I like to sit behind them in a rocking chair wearing a white linen suit and horn-rimmed glasses watching my sugar cane being harvested. Or something.

They're pretty cool little inventions, plantation shutters. They can make a room as dark as Egypt, which is excellent for sleeping. We like to say that la casa nueva is a great "sleeping house" because of that very thing. They're pretty much maintenance free. Dust on the shutters? Sure. It happens. But what shouldn't have to be removed from them, like ever, is my 2.5 year old. You see where this is headed.

Majesty walks in the used-to-be-a-study-now-it's-a-playroom the other day, and Mr. Guess Who is 8 or 9 feet up above the parquet, scaling the shutters like an ice climber on a frozen waterfall.

That ain't good.

Majesty hears Jack in the upstairs office closet and can't locate him. He's not in there, but she hears him... above her. He had climbed a series of boxes, and ended up on the extreme top shelf - a pretty darn wobbly deathtrap of a top shelf - of the closet.

That ain't good, either, folks.

And he's not getting the message of the frequently frequent spankins and talkin' tos either. I stroll through the playroom the other day (still in my linen suit, right), and just casually look over at Jack, perched atop his toy kitchen, about 5 feet up. You remember the toy kitchen.

We're trying the taking away toys thing. Pretty marginal results. He's had more stuff confiscated than a con doing twenty to life at San Quentin. His guitar. His ukulele. His microphone. Thomas the Tank Engine. Friends and associates of Thomas the Tank Engine (Yes, he has a ukulele; stay on target, here.) Buzz and Woody. Everybody - and I mean everybody - is in protective custody.

About an hour after the kitchen incident, I'm watering the withered lumps of greenish brown that pass for my mint plants. Jack's off playing in the jundle. I glance over there to make sure he's still alive, like they teach you to do every few hours or so in Dad School. He's suspended by both arms, hanging from a really unfortunate Youpon Holly tree. Smiling.

We've no idea what to do. He's far too young to fathom the whole grounding thing. Not to mention the whole acceleration of gravity thing, which is the real problem, I guess. Grounding probably wouldn't work anyway, gauging how headstrong (from mommy) and resistant to authority (from daddy) he is. He's got the pain threshold of a bull elephant, so all the whuppins are of little effect.

Nets? Maybe nets. Nets like those ex-Soviet trapeze dudes at Cirque du Soleil have. We can just cover the floors with safety netting. I might be on to something here. After all, netting worked like a charm in preventing BASE jumping from his crib.

We took a long weekend and went with our good friends Mike, Meredith, Aaron, Jason, Valerie and Baby NOWAH down to Galveston. We all split a house down at the western end of the island. You should have seen The Dude drown-proofing himself in the surf on the first day. Much more brave than in Florida, he crashed out into the deeper water and got just swamped with waves over and over again. Wouldn't stay with me for any reason. And he loved it.

At one point, he gets down parallel with the surf, letting it roll him, and roll over him, as he cackled and sputtered and choked and laughed and coughed out seawater. Not just a few times did I see the top of his hat under the big clear wave that just swamped him. Completely fearless. The second day he was a little more reserved, and got his kicks by letting me pitch him up in the air. I stopped counting at around 70 or so. Probably got a hundred out of me. Sheesh. I guess toddlers are sort of nature's medicine ball.

As you might suspect, swim lessons started yesterday.

Oh, I forgot to mention this the other week.

We took a walk on a trail by the house, and Jack insisted on riding his tricycle. We traipse up on a group of four high school girls, and they're still maybe 50 feet from us. Jack stops, stands up, and tumps his tricycle over. He flops on the ground and lies there, faking a wreck for the girls' benefit.

I've never seen someone stoop so low, or do something so, so... utterly brilliant.

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