My poor, poor, son.
My nine-month-old son Adam may be the youngest ever crash test dummy. The other day he climbed up onto the bed and looked around. It was quite an accomplishment for a kid who can't even walk yet, and he was proud of himself. He was even more proud of himself for finding his favorite thing in the world, our far-too-tolerant cat Elise. He crawled over to her and tried to fit her (the entire cat!) into his mouth (he's teething, so he, of course, tries to chew everything). Cats, even the most tolerant ones, don't put up with that kind of nonsense. She jumped off the bed, and he tried to follow her. It was a slow-motion nightmare. I could see him falling, face first, toward our hardwood floor, but I couldn't get there in time to do anything about it.
Facial bruise #1, followed by almost an hour of justified crying.
After a long nap he was back in good spirits, and set out again to conquer the world. He crawled (faster than I can run!) into the living room, and spied my recliner. Once a mountain climber was asked why he climbed mountains, and replied, "Because they're there." My son may grow up to be a mountain climber, because, for no obvious reason other than that the recliner was there, he climbed it. Having conquered Mt. Daddy's Chair, he then sat on top of his conquest and spied the world from a new angle. But babies are easily bored, and Adam couldn't stay in the chair long. If I had any sense at all, given the events from earlier in the day, I would have been somewhere other than the other side of the room. Evidently I have no sense. Adam crawled from the seat to the armrest, but I still stood, amused, too far away. He then stared intently at the floor, and I started to move toward him. He looked up at me, and grinned his devilish grin.
Time stood still.
Alas, so, it seems, did I.
And... the baby flung himself, again, face first, toward the hardwood floor. Another slow motion nightmare. I thought about laying out to catch him, ala Jim Edmonds in center field with the game on the line, but I realized if I tried that move then we'd have two injured people instead of one. And so the baby landed, once again, face first on a hardwood floor, at the feet of his helpless, hapless father.
Facial bruise #2, followed by incessant crying until Mama came home from work to rescue him.
I'd love to be able to come up with some nice, neat moral to this story, which tells us all about human nature, and even makes some sort of parallel to violence in the Middle East or the conflict between conservatives and liberals here at home. I'd love to be able to use that moral to help solve the world's problems. But, really, if I were the sort of person bright enough to do that, would I have allowed my child to test the hardness of our floor with his face not once but twice?
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