The Child Development Experts™ from BabyCenter tell me that, at seventeen months (week 1), my Captain Adventure is likely to be getting into climbing.
“By now she may be able to climb up a set of stairs, turn around at the top and sit, then scoot her way back down again. Some more cautious toddlers may like climbing up the stairs but will call for help to get back down.”
Well, yes. Although the way Captain Adventure does things is more like this: escape through a crack no bigger than a flea in any gate or doorway, run for the stairs, clamber up same with the speed and agility of a mountain goat (giggling all the way), stand up at the top, do a little victory dance, and then start back down head first on the assumption that before anything really bad can happen, Mommy will use her Olympic-like reflexes to catch me.
He also likes to climb up on the sofa, do the same little dance, and then shinny out onto the arm or back of the sofa and bounce – casting coy glances over his shoulder to make sure that Mommy is having the appropriate fit of apoplexy over his performance.
I’ve never been fond of the Climbing Phase. Terrible Twos (and Snotty Sixes) are annoying, but you get through them in one piece (physically, anyway – mentally is another story). But the Climbing Phase that toddlers go through is hell.
It was during this phase that Danger Mouse plummeted off the clatter bridge part of our brand new, super-deluxe, dual-slide, three-swing-and-a-sandbox, made-for-four-kids Playnation set in our backyard. I helped her up the ladder, expecting that she would stand there at the top for a moment before deciding whether to try the bridge or the slide.
Nope. Ran, hell bent for election, right onto the clatter bridge. And of course, being a clatter bridge, it shifted. She fell right through the gap between the swaying bridge and the railing and belly flopped on the ground below.
You know that thing you see the Olympic gymnasts do on the parallel bars, where they somehow shoot themselves feet-first between the upper and lower bars?
I did that.
As Dog is my witness, and I have no idea how, I did that.
Eight months pregnant, weighing in at an awkwardly-placed 185, I shot myself right between the upper rail of the tower and the upper railing of the bridge - swoosh! Landed with a thud that registered about a 7.3 on the local Richter scales and a shriek that is probably still revolving in space above the Central Valley.
If I had paused to think about things, I probably would have used the ladder. But I was pretty sure Danger Mouse was either dead or, at the very least, missing her nose. So I just got down off that thing the fastest way possible.
She was neither dead nor face-flattened. In point of fact, she kind of bounced and was more scared than hurt. So we lay on the sofa and cried together for a little bit, and I swore that none of my kids would ever be permitted to play on that damned thing again.
About an hour later, she was using kitchen chairs as ladders to the kitchen table, and trying to stretch from there to the counters (a mere three foot span or so) to score crackers.