Monkey Business is Booming

March 15, 2013 at 2:30 pm Leave a comment

If anyone doubts the genetic similarities between humans and chimpanzees they need to spend five minutes with my son. For having him is like owning a bumbling monkey.

In the wild this poor primate would have been eaten by a leopard months ago, he being too busy hitting himself in the face with a stick to notice the danger. But here in our relatively secure, leopard-free home he has the freedom to determine if chalk is food and to see if it’s a good idea to tackle a sleeping cat.

Increasing The Crazy

My baby son is turning into a boy. With his ever-increasing coordination he can manipulate his environment in new and harmful ways. Every day brings a new bruise, scrape, or fat lip. If he’s not slamming his head into the back of the high chair for his mother’s amusement he’s eating a felt pen or shutting a door on his fat fingers. Recently he bounced off of the coffee table in a way that would have made a crash test dummy wince. But my little 27-pound Weeble gets right back up again, forgetting the painful lesson mere minutes after it was taught.

His interaction with me has also evolved. Now that he has mastered walking my son’s wildness is becoming more pronounced. This is evidenced by the roughness of his play and his desire to grab, tackle, eat, and/or throw every available object. A closed door must be opened. An open door must be closed.

Hurricane Monkey

Our living environment reflects this evolution. It is not easy keeping the house clean with a small, screaming primate running around. I have now accepted that my home will never be the den of style, sophistication, and comfortable adult living that I envisioned for my family. Every room has at least one toy on the floor. Most pieces of furniture feature a half-torn sticker or felt-tip marker ink. Often my son gets into my wife’s nightstand drawer and within seconds it’s raining panties in the bedroom.

Now that he is in this new phase of life I need to do a serious reassessment of our living space. Before my first child was born we put every available security device into play, including cabinet locks and those obnoxious, spinny, doorknob things. I never thought we would need them and they just bothered me. With my daughter I was right: we never needed them and they just bothered me.

Now that I have a son they are finally paying off. Unfortunately, he has broken two of the cabinet locks already. I’m thinking of replacing all of the kitchen cabinets with bear-proof storage cans.

The Shocking New Challenge

The electrical outlet protectors are the next level of defense he is accosting. He has often seen me remove one to plug in the vacuum cleaner so he knows those white plates are brimming with opportunities for self-harm. Just last week I caught him trying to plug a Nintendo Wii controller cord into a protected outlet. I watched him for a few seconds, marvelling at the speed at which he was putting concepts together. Pretty soon he’ll be coordinated enough to remove one of those covers and then I’ll be forced to shut down the power to the house for the next 17 years.

Growing Pains

There is, of course, a better way to look at this. My boy is curious and as a toddler it is his job to be so. As his father I am there to make sure he’s not stabbing the TV with scissors or falling into the fireplace. If we play our roles properly he’ll be ok.

Despite the bite marks on my arms and the bruise on my noggin that’s shaped like the bottom of a glass baby bottle, I feel lucky to have a front row seat to watch my boy grow and learn about his world.

And that, in my opinion, is a chimply marvelous place to be.

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