The Law of Unintended Consequences

It’s cold here.  Not that anybody should be surprised, because it’s cold everywhere today.  The Wednesday dad meetup at the Zoo was changed to the Museum of Science and Nature, but I’m pretty sure nobody actually went.  It’s too cold.

I think people here and kinda in shock.  We all know generally in the back of our minds that it gets cold in Denver, sometimes.  And the cold here is generally fairly pleasant.  A nice dry cold that chaps the lips and cracks the cuticles, but nothing like the cold that settles in around the great lakes.   That cold grips you through the heaviest wold coat and shakes you.  Here the cold just lightly touches on you, and if you can stay out of the wind, makes you think its not so bad.  Winter here isn’t a penance we have to live through to enjoy the rest of the seasons, but brings its own special beauty.  But the first cold snap of the season is always a surprise.  Maybe the fact that it was a balmy 75 degrees on Sunday has something to do with it.

I traded pleasantries about the weather with the checker at Trader Joe’s last night.  I had run out for some bananas.  The kiddo’s digestion need them…don’t ask.  The drive over was a little slippery.  We discussed how much we liked the change.  75 in November is not right, but might be the new normal.  It’s good for the gas bill, but bad for the planet.  The cold snap reminded us that we live in a pace with winter.

This is really where the story starts.  This morning the house was cold. I turned the heat up.

The kiddo’s feet were cold.  After breakfast I dressed him in a warm onesie, fleece lined pants and a long sleeved shirt made from the same material as lumberjack long underwear.  I put socks on him.  I was out of socks with the little rubber nubs.  The result is that I turned all the hardwood into an ice rink.  Think Bambi on a frozen pond.  He wasn’t put off, but each sprint across the house usually ended with a thump that rattled the dishes in the cabinet.

So I put on a pair of shoes on him.  Well made sneakers from Carter’s with big rubber soles.  Now instead of each lap around the house ending with one big thump, we now had a whole lot more little thumps.  The patter of little feet.  This is fine.  As long as I hear the feet, I know were doing something safe.

However now we came to a different problem.  As we ran each lap, his fine hair started to fly away from his head in fluffy halo.  I’m sure the fleece lined pants played some role.  The first time he approached the table with the metal frame came as quite a surprise.  Zap!  Then it became a game.

The new skill of the month is climbing higher and higher.  First it was the padded ottoman, with help from the drum/stool.  Then it was onto the couches.  Then it was on to the side tables and dining room chairs.  Places that used to be safe from the biddo are no longer safe.  His penultimate goal now to climb atop the chair near my laptop to bang on the keyboard before dad can get to him.

I went into the bedroom to look for something and left my chair pushed out.  Normally he follows me into the bedroom, where he might have the opportunity to push the buttons on the Fax/Printer, or stand on the bathroom scale, or open a drawer in the closet and manically toss all the clothes on the floor.  This time he did not, and since I was vaguely distracted I did not notice that the patter of little feet had gone coldly quiet.

I emerged from the bedroom to the sight of Robin standing on a dining room chair happily emptying the contents of the salt shaker onto my keyboard.  On the screen there was a message about deleting the last restore point.  He gave me the merriest grin.  It was the grandest thing he had every done, that grin said.

Here is where I usually try to tie it all together.  I never knew, before being a parent, that it was possible to feel so many things at once.  A touch of anger at the mess, chagrin that it was pretty much my fault, pride that he was able to do it, terror he’d fall, and gratefulness that he hadn’t chosen the cup of coffee in easy reach instead of the salt.  I’m sure there were loads more.  But it all really winds itself into one emotion, like individual threads twisted around themselves into a rope.  I have no name for that emotion, I just know that I feel it and it ties me securely to my kid.  I suspect all parents feel it to some extent.  Without it, I doubt any child would survive to age three, what with their willingness to just step off the table they just climbed up onto with no regard for the hardness of the floor.

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