Saturday, December 13, 2003

O Christmas Tree

My son Joshua's first Christmas he was a mere babe of one month. So it didn't really qualify as HIS first Christmas. The next year he was ready. Engines running wide open.
Josh exhibited a love of climbing at an early age. I think he made his way out of his crib for the first time at about 7 months. His talents were not reserved for only climbing OUT of things but into, on top of , under , around, and over were all equally persued. By the time we put up the Christmas tree he was well skilled at his trade. We should have known a 6 foot tree in the middle of the room was going to be more than his little mind and body could resist. Especially if said tree is lit up with multi colored lights, dozens of enticing trinkets and presents packed underneath. The poor babe was intoxicated with glee at his first sight of this phenomenom in his very own living room. With much supervision we managed to keep him away from it that first night. Filled with a false sense of accomplishment and foolish self assurance we drug our tired bodies off to bed. Worn to a frazzel from the battle we had endured we slept soundly. Blissfully ignorant of the impending disaster awaiting us the following morn. Sometime around 6 am, we were awakened by Daniel (then 4) with cries of "Mommy, Daddy, you'd better come right now, Josh is IN THE TREE"!!! Did you know that one CAN stump one's toe on the bed footpost and continue to dash from the room? One can, trust me on this. There in our living room, much to our horror and his delight , Josh awaited us. 3/4's of the way UP the Christmas tree. Everything happend in slow motion after that. We both ran toward the tree, as it began it's slow bending topple to the floor. When the tree met the floor there was the crash of bulbs, the splatter of the aforementions trinkets and the delighted giggle of Joshua. He thought this was the best ride ever.
Lesson learned? Never leave 6 foot tree unattended with budding mountain climbing child in residence. NEVER.
Lesson not learned. You will see.
After inspecting Josh for damage (there was none). We righted the tree and cleaned up the broken bulbs. It was decided coffee (an lots of it) and breakfast were in order before attemting to redecorate. Later before redocrating the tree we contemplated what to do to keep the the tree safe from Josh and thereby keeping Josh safe from Josh's climbing. It was decided we'd put the tree in the play pen. We were so proud of ourselves. We have found a relatively simple and easy soloution to the problem. I am sure somewhere the God's were laughing and calling us FOOLS. Fools I tell you. Fools indeed.
We went out bought more pretty shiney bulbs, re-decorated the tree and it looked even more lovely than before if I do say so myself. It's beauty hardly detracted by the giant mesh playpen in which it sat. Again that night we retired filled with that foolish sense of security.
Just imagine an instant replay of the previous morning, minus the toe stumping. There in the living room, Josh greeted us with his sweet smile, this time only half way up the tree. Part of his climbing time had been used in BENDING the metal bar holding up the mesh that was suppose to have protected the tree. Ah haaaa no barrier for the strong willed little man in the fuzzy red sleeper. Again we watched with much trepidation as the tree made it's way to the floor, again amidst the giggles of glee from Joshua.

Daniel looked up at me with a seriousness one would not expect in a 4 year old and said " We're not going to be able to keep him out of that tree are we"? (THIS is the lesson not learned) I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. So I just sat down in the floor with them and did both. Breakfast was had that morning amongst the Christmas tree disaster.
At this point it was decided we might need the advice of our parents. After all between the two of us, Robert and I have 8 siblings, surely one of them had been a climber. So we headed out as the song says 'over the river and through the woods' to Grandmother's (and Grandfather's) house. Everyone had suggestions. The one we thought might actually work was the fishing line theory.
Back at home that night , we once again sat about re-decorating the tree. This time there were no more pretty bulbs. I figured you can only temp fate so many times and that if this didn't work, Joshua could actually be hurt by the broken bulbs. I put only the trinkets that I would not mind losing should I lose yet another battle for THE CHRISTMAS TREE . Before decorating commenced we wrapped 50lb fishing line around the base of the tree. In two places, one near the bottom and one near the top. We didn't bother with the playpen since one side had been permanently damaged by our little mountain climber. And so a sparsly decorated tree was once again raised. Not so confident, but tired all the same, off to bed we went.

Two notes to self here--
#1. Listen to four year olds, sometimes they have a better grasp of reality than you do.
#2. Even 50 lb fishing line will NOT hold up to a 30lb child if you do not secure it to something besides plaster walls and with something sturdier than 10penny nails.

To make an already long story short, the next morning the Christmas tree was promptly placed on the front lawn. Lights were added later. It was decided that there would be no inside tree that year. Turns out, Daniel knew what he was talking about.



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