Sunday, February 21, 2010

Watch this

I think Olympic ski jumping would be much more exciting if the athletes had to vault over a shark pit ala The Fonz.

Here's a column that was inspiried by the 2008 Summer Olympics....

It was a perfect backward three-somersault tuck with a twist.
Too bad it was off the kitchen table.

And the “diver” was my three-year-old son who had narrowly missed landing on the golden retriever innocently taking a snooze on the floor.

That’s it, I thought. No more watching the Olympics on television for you, young man.

“What in the world are you doing?” I walked over to him and asked in a reasonably calm tone considering he’d also come thisclose to ramming his little blonde head on the edge of the table.

I looked down to see my son, flat on his back on the floor with one leg draped over the dog’s head as she struggled to free herself from his haphazard fall. So much for sticking the landing. Oh, wait. That’s gymnastics. Nevermind.

My son only smiled and asked, “Do I get a medal now, Mommy?”

My husband, who had watched the entire episode from the family room, decided it was time for a little discipline.

“Hey!” he hollered and marched forward. Just as I began to think he was gonna lay down the law about the dangers of jumping off the furniture he added, “Don’t forget to tuck your chin a little tighter. That’ll make you spin faster.”

Then he held his hand up in the air and added, “But good effort. High five!”

That’s it, I thought. No more watching the Olympics on television for you either, old man.

***

Since becoming a mom to a human with a Y chromosome, I’ve discovered the two most dangerous words in the English language are “Watch this.”

They are usually uttered before the following occasions:

Riding a bike.

Throwing a baseball.

Eating a bug.

Peeing in the toilet.

Sticking something up his nose AFTER peeing in the toilet.

As a result, one would think I’d be more cautious about what I introduce to his young world. Alas, no. I took complete leave of my senses and bought the little daredevil a scooter.

I must be insane.

“Watch this!” were the last words I heard before he took off down the driveway at a speed that was slightly less than a closer’s fast ball in the ninth with the bases loaded and the winning run up to bat.

Before I could dig my heart out of my throat to yell out a warning, he hollered, “Watch this trick!”

His “trick” was to go really, really, really fast…then jump off and fly through the air like he’d been blasted from a cannon.

Brilliant. Just brilliant.

He landed on the ground with a sickening thud as the scooter shot to the right, rolled into a nearby tree and fell over onto its side.

At least my son was wearing a helmet. The fact that he had it on backward with the safety strap wrapped around his nose didn’t seem to bother him any.

Not many points for style, but it kept his head from cracking open like an egg. So for that I was grateful as I ran over to pick him up, dust him off and pray that our health insurance premiums were paid up.

***

I heard the crash about three seconds before I heard, “MOMMY! IWANTMYMOMMY!”

I raced up the stairs, flipping the bird to the likes of gravity myself when I missed the top step and rammed my knee into the banister.

Insert appropriate swear word here.

I limped into my son’s room to see him lying in a crumpled heap in the middle of his bed and rubbing the top of his head. My razor-sharp Mom eyes quickly spotted a small, head-sized dent in the wall next to the bed.

“Were you jumping on the bed again?” I asked, already knowing the answer. “And then fell into the wall?”

“Just a little bit,” he answered. “Did I hurt the wall?”

I leaned over for a closer inspection and answered, “Nah, nothing a little spackle won’t fix.”

I have a feeling I’ll be buying a lot more of that in the next few years.

***

As my husband’s brother once put it, “I don’t blame you for my nephew’s shortcomings. I blame your husband. We used to pull those stunts all the time as kids. But he hit his head a lot more than I did. That’s what’s wrong with him.”

Makes perfect sense to me.

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