Monday, August 1, 2011

If Harry Houdini and Evel Kneivel Had a Love Child


In college, I had a friend who was the doting aunt to four beautiful and rambunctious nieces and nephews. Her sister, the mother of the dear nieflings, had instituted a house rule after several years of dealing with disasters of one kind and another. Each child was allowed one emergency room visit per calendar year. If a child fell and got a cut that required stitches on January 1, then that child was not allowed to need any kind of emergency medical attention throughout the rest of the year. Their mother could handle quarterly ER visits, but nothing more than that.

I mention this because LO seems determined to make me institute a similar rule. Of course, he has not gotten himself into any kind of serious trouble beyond the usual bumps. (Side note: what is it about baby noggins that make such loud and echoey sounds when they hit anything hard? Has the brain not grown enough to fill the skull, leaving plenty of room for an echo chamber? Or is it that grown up heads would make the same sound, but we're in better control of our neck muscles?) However, considering the fact that the child seems to be a determined mix of Harry Houdini and Evel Kneivel, I can see trouble brewing on the horizon, particularly once the young man gains his mobility.

Case in point: yesterday, we put LO down for a nap in his swing. With a practiced hand, I wrestled the squirming bundle of "I'M NOT TIRED!" into his swing and buckled the safety belt. He objected. He squirmed. He turned around 180 degrees in the swing so he could watch me check my email. J came over to see what the little man was up to, and then asked me, "Is he buckled in?"

"Yeah, I strapped him in."

"Are you sure? He's turned all the way around in the seat."

J headed over to the swing while I turned my attention away from the long lost Nigerian relative who wanted to give me $10 million. LO took that moment to show off the fact that he had, in fact, wriggled and jiggled and tickled himself out of the loving embrace of the safety restraint. He launched himself off the edge of the seat in time with the motion of the swing so as to create maximum impact with the floor and maximum heart attack symptoms in his parents.

(I would like to point out that the above picture is NOT a photograph of this particular instance of swing ejection. The child is quite good at getting himself out of the swing restraints and makes something of a hobby of giving his parents gray hairs).

As the resident engineer pointed out, we just need to tighten the straps on the swing and our problem will be solved. (That is, until the child figures out how to unbuckle the straps, which is only a matter of time. He recently amused himself for 30 minutes trying to figure out how the safety buckle on his stroller worked, which in retrospect, we should probably not have been charmed by. Freeing himself from baby gates, car seats, safety harnesses and straight jackets can't be far behind.)

His uncanny ability for escape would be worrisome enough, but the child is also an adrenaline junkie. He loves being upside down. He loves roughhousing. He loves speed. He is fearless with a capital AAAAAAAAAAHH! Basically, if you could create my polar opposite and give him SpongeBob teeth, you would have my daredevil baby boy.

"I live for speed!"

I'm considering redoing the entire house in velcro. Then I could put LO in a velcro onesie, stick him to the floor or low on the wall, and know that he will stay put. Because once this child is mobile, I don't know that I'll ever sleep again.

*Note to grandparent types who would like to know why in hell there's a photograph of the child after he fell out of the swing, since one would assume picking the baby up would be the first order of business rather than taking a picture: I WASN'T THERE. EGB was taking a nap at the time and men of the B household were spending some quality time together downstairs. So please, note that it wasn't me.

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