This is what the midwife should have said to us when she passed us our baby.
Tables, chairs, couches, roofs, me – it doesn’t matter.
If it’s higher than ground level it must be conquered.
A simple walk in the park turns into a parkour session.
A car journey begins with a Starsky and Hutch-esque vault through the window
The couch is accessed by a hurdle over the top.
The bed is nothing but the landing area for a Fosbery Flop.
I am the coach of a perpetual Olympic team – of two.
Fairly normal I thought. Just another one of life’s kinder challenges we deal with.
So why was I surprised when last weekend I felt a tug on my shirt with the words;
“is that Zak up there?”
And so there I was standing with a few hundred people watching Max play football.
I turn, jaw clenched, in anticipation of the slap of rebelliousness I was about to feel, to see Zak walking – nae strolling – along the top of the cricket nets directly behind us.
As I head towards the nets, the collective gasp from the crowd showering me with spittle, I picture young Zak falling through.
He sees me coming and smiles.
I was not smiling. And he got my message. If my eyes had lasers he would be a goner.
By the time I reach him he had begun his descent. With surprising ease he holds the mesh with one hand while swinging down with the other. It was graceful and athletic.
The feeling of pride and admiration took me by surprise. I flashbacked to my days of exploration. Of climbing into storm drains and up into trees that were way too high.
I remember that he is me. And I am him.
I too was a mountain goat. Active with boundless energy. Inquisitive and interested.
Yes I fell. I had sprains and breaks and cuts and bruises. And I made it through ok. (Actually with some quite good stories that my kids won’t hear for years.)
I ask him;
“what are you doing? Do you realise how dangerous it is?”.
“Yes, but my friend hit his ball up there and I wanted to get it for him.”
My heart melts again.
Caring and compassionate. No thought that he might hurt himself. He just wanted to help a friend. And of course, climb something really high.
So what am I meant to do with this kind, caring, compassionate, inquisitive, interesting, and thoughful child.
Well I did what any parent would do in this situation.
I grounded him and took away his ipad.
It’s ok for me to do these things. It’s not ok for him.
C’est la vie.