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Friday, September 10, 2004

Up a tree…

Those who follow such things will have noticed that there are a two new pictures of Yonah over there (on the right side of the page) in his album (All Yonah, All the Time).

I don’t usually call attention to these random additions, but these two pictures tell a special tale… a tale that could be the archetype for all children’s tales.

You see, Yonah has learned a new trick: Pulling himself up to the standing position.

Unfortunately he picked up this new skill before having developed a sound strategy for sitting back down. This has resulted in either Zahava or myself regularly following the sound of shrieking, only to find him hanging by his fingertips… quivering with rage and fatigue. Truth be told, he looks quite silly when we find him stranded like this… but to Yonah this is deadly serious business.

The look on his face when someone finally goes in to rescue him is eerily like those posters that showed the wide-eyed kitten hanging precariously from a tree branch with the caption, “Hang in there baby…”. Like I said… silly, except to Yonah.

I wish I could tell myself that this is just a phase that will soon pass… that in a few weeks he will have developed enough common sense not to strand himself this way. But I know from long experience with Ariella and Gilad that every aspect of growing up can be boiled down to this same insane process: Climbing trees before figuring out how to get back down.

The scary part is that no matter how old our kids get, they still believe with unwavering faith that Zahava and I will always be there to catch them… to rescue them… to talk them down from wherever they strand themselves. I sometimes lay awake at night smothered by the responsibility. Don’t they know that we’re just making it up as we go along… that we can’t possibly catch every falling child in time?!

Hopefully, by the time our children reach the age when they become the rescuers they will appreciate just how improvised and scary this parenting gig can be… and how, despite all the ‘expert’s’ claims to the contrary, this whole child-rearing mess is a very inexact science.

The real irony is that I have rarely communicated to my own rescuers - who after 50 years of marriage (this weekend) still occasionally find one or more of their children up a tree with no idea how to get down - how much I appreciate the safety net of patient words and deeds that they lovingly continue to provide.

Thank you Mom & Dad, for being better-than-average improvisers at the whole parenting thing… and for never pointing out (at least to our faces) how silly we all look whenever we find ourselves stranded up a tree.

Happy Anniversary!

Posted by David Bogner on September 10, 2004 | Permalink

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Your writing amazes me... what started out with me thinking, "oh, I know all about Yonah already." and wondering if I should continue reading, ended up with me just smiling while thinking, "Wow, what a nice analogy and nice tribute to our parents!"

Nice job, Dave, as always.

Posted by: Val | Sep 10, 2004 3:51:28 PM

David,
That was a beautiful post, now I really miss my mom (The first Yartzheit is coming up anyway so the emotions are kinda close to the surface.) I realize that she was always there for me, even if she had to let me fall sometimes. I believe that she is still looking out for me, but it hurts so much more to fall now.

Posted by: Faye | Sep 10, 2004 5:26:02 PM

Faye... I'm sorry the post was bitter-sweet for you. If it's any comfort, most of the 'rescuing' my parents do these days, they do without even realizing it. Their assistance comes when I am faced with a problem and I ask myself what they would do in my position (or what would they want me to do). In that sense, your mom is still very much there for you.

Posted by: David | Sep 10, 2004 5:41:43 PM

David, you have beautiful children (tfu-tfu-tfu)!
(I have checked out the photos).

Posted by: Alisa | Sep 10, 2004 6:26:28 PM

Alisa... thank you for saying so. I thank G-d every day that they look like their mother! :-)

Posted by: David | Sep 10, 2004 6:40:20 PM

Your kidlets are, indeed, adorable.
Makes the ol' ovaries ache just a-lookin' at 'em. :)

Posted by: Lisa | Sep 10, 2004 10:52:38 PM

Lisa... I am a collector of funny sayings, and that was one of the funniest I've heard! How frustrating that I won't be able to use it (without getting some really strange stares).

Posted by: David | Sep 11, 2004 8:24:53 PM

David,

Thanks for a post that makes me smile. My son is going to be 4 in December. He has a habit of jumping off of things and then asking me to catch him.

As you mentioned in your post, it hasn't occurred to him that I might not be able to leap over the coffee table and catch him before he hits the floor.

I sometimes wish that I had all this on tape so that people can see that I am capable of athletic moves that would put Olympic athletes to shame. ;)

Posted by: Jack | Sep 13, 2004 6:58:06 PM

Jack... there oughta be an Olympic event...

Posted by: David | Sep 14, 2004 6:26:00 PM

I have often said that the best way to win a Gold medal is to develop a competition you are already an expert in. It is not the greatest way to win, but it works.

Reminds me of the story of the man who came upon a row of bulls eyes. In each bulls eye an arrow was stuck, dead center.

He sought out the person who was responsible for such fine shooting and came to find out that a boy would shoot his arrows and then draw the bullseye around the arrow.

I paraphrased, it is presented far more eloquently than that.

Posted by: Jack | Sep 15, 2004 9:20:56 AM

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