One year two weeks and counting. Ian still won't walk. And it is oficially an act of defiance. Several times a day he'll get up out of the blue and take his token five or six steps, then go right back to crawling. I'm convinced if we weren't around and Carl Lewis snuck into the house and challenged Ian to a foot race, Ian would not only accept - he would win. (Carl is much older than he was during his olympic glory days).
On the other hand, Ian has no problem showing off his climbing skills. He climbs up on furniture; he especially likes the rocking chair at grandma and granpa's house. And although he loves to rock once he gets in it, I think he more enjoys showing off how quickly he can get in and out of it. And if you hold Ian in your lap, he'll use your ears or your hair as a hand hold and climb up the front of your body like you're a human Mount Everest. I had him at the allergist this week getting his swine flu vaccine (long story) and he climbed up my front side to get his little hands on the dispenser of hand sanitizer. I felt like a ladder.
His agility became most aparent this weekend when Katie and I were sitting on the couch when we watched him crawl over to the bouncing zebra elliott got for Christmas two years ago. Like a short, stubby cowboy, Ian grabbed the head of the zebra, then swung his little leg over the plastic saddle and he was suddenly aboard. Katie and I looked at each other in amazement. Then he began to bounce which triggered the obnoxious music that blares when Mr. Zebra is in motion. I was reminded that I once threatened to send him out to pasture for good. And for the life of me, I can't recall why I didn't. (See video below).
When Elliott saw that Ian was having such a good time on the zebra, he became instantly aware just how much he had missed his once favorite pet. Forget that the boy and pet hadn't spoken in months, it was high time they got reaquainted. So he waited with surprising patience until Ian dismounted and then he reclaimed what was rightfully his. Once on board he bounced on that thing like the aging zebra was still a colt.
Then it happened. Katie and I watched as Ian got this look in his eyes that I am petrified, if not certain, that we are going to see many, many times. It wasn't there but for a moment, and then Ian was on the move. Like a defensive end breaking free on the blind side of a quarterback, Ian charged full-speed ahead (crawled) at Elliott, grabbed a hand full of the hand-me-down, number 4 Ohio State jersey that Elliott was wearing, and drug him off the zebra. His first quarterback sack. When I saw at once the shocked look on Elliott's face and Ian scurrying to climb aboard the zebra, I laughed. I laughed so hard I nearly injured myself. And so did Katie. And probably neither of us should have, but I assure you, there was no other option.
On the bright side, Elliott was wearing an Ohio State jersey and not his Notre Dame, Jimmy Clausen uniform. Notre Dame can't afford to have Jimmy on the ground any more than he already is.
On Sunday morning, Elliott was standing at the window yelling in excitement "Daddy, the sun is out, the sun is out!" We were prisoners to the weather last week. A noreaster parked itself off the coast and we were just close enough to get five straight days of rain. Eight inches worth. Elliott saw the sun and he just knew the guards were going to let us out of our cells for a little recreation time. He was right. We went to the park. On the way there Elliott looked up to the sky and saw an airplane.
"Look daddy, it's an airplane," he said. "The airplane is sucking up the nightime and spitting out the daytime. Then it's going to come back and suck up the day and it will be nightime." And somehow I was led to believe that day and night thing had something to do with the earth spinning and revolving around the sun. I always thought that sounded a bit farfetched.
The Christmas season is bringing out the best and worst in Elliott's imagination. On the bright side, he has no trouble imagining all of the wonderful presents Santa Clause will bring him. On the dark side, the challenging side, he wants Santa nowhere near our house. We can't begin to sell Elliott on this whole Jolly ol' Saint Nick idea. No, to Elliott, Santa is nothing less than a disgruntled cookie monster traveling the world with a heard of rabid reindeer. One of them with glowing body parts. None of which are invited to graze in our yard.
As of this moment, Elliott is willing to let me meet Santa somewhere to pick up his presents. Like Rome. Italy. I'm beginning to wonder if Elliott's childhood will have some holiday traditions unlike any I remember from my childhood. It should be interesting.