There is, of course, a rich vein of humor to be mined when it comes to "weird places your kids wind up when you turn your backs on them for half-a-second". (I'm reminded of an incident I read in the news a few years back, where--as the parent was distracted by a very engaging cell-phone conversation--the kid managed to get himself trapped in one of those game boxes of the type where you control a claw with a joystick to pick up stuffed animals. The parent turned around, and... his kid was in there with all the animals!)
Well, my kids haven't managed to get themselves trapped in really weird spaces yet. But this morning we got a little reminder that we need to keep our eyes on our three-year-old daughter, who we've dubbed the Adrenaline Junkie. In the sidebar of this blog, I describe her this way: "She reached her 'climbing stage' very young, and never left it."
I'd been thinking for a while that this description might not be so accurate anymore. Sure, occasionally we'd be playing around after church, and she'd ask me to put her up in the branches of one of those huge walnut trees they have on the grounds; but aside from that, I hadn't seen her do much actual climbing lately. Well, after this morning, I think I need to leave that line alone.
Item one. For Christmas last year, each of our three kids was given some lovely footstools, crafted and painted by Uncle Andy. Note how the girls have arranged these in their bedroom:
If there was any doubt about what they're trying to accomplish with this, be it known that they refer to this little arrangement as their "ladder".
Item number two: I present a picture of the Adrenaline Junkie sitting on a sofa, with a quilt hanging on the wall behind her, and a very messy table just visible to the right. The piano is outside of the picture to the left, just beyond the edge of the sofa.
We caught her walking along the top of that sofa this morning. In fact, I nearly had to go rescue her, when she slipped and dangled a leg down in the gap between the wall, sofa, and messy table. (I didn't actually see whether she was behind, in front of, or in the middle of the hanging quilt; I just heard her yelling....)
Item three: this is a picture of the master bedroom. See those stuffed animals on the top of the bookshelf in the corner?
That's where Daddy keeps a stash of stuffed animals that he picked up--as gifts, mainly--from childhood up until college, when it was still considered cool to give stuffed animals to the ones you love.
Now, see all those stuffed animals scattered all over the bed? They should be up on that bookshelf with all the others.
The girls like Daddy's stuffed animals. They often come in our bedroom in the mornings, before Mommy and Daddy are really ready to be up, and ask if they could play with the cat or the moose or the crab or the pig.
But today Mommy and Daddy weren't available to get them--and of course, the top shelf is too high for her to reach. So what did the Adrenaline Junkie do?
She climbed up on our bed, and then walked across Mommy's nightstand to get them. When we returned to the bedroom to see where our kids had gone, we found the Junkie with a veritable armload of really cute stuffed animals; and our first reaction was to turn to each other and ask, "Did you let her have them?"
So yes, she's still a climber; and a pretty good one at that. She hasn't really developed much of a fear of falling yet. And because she's so long and thin for her age, she can get into really, really tight places. Ever since the '80's I'd always wondered how that girl fell into that 8-inch well shaft that one time; now that we have the Adrenaline Junkie, I understand.
We're going to have to keep an eye on her.
(And, it would appear, we're going to have to keep an eye on her younger brother; it looks like he's taking after her quite a bit....)