A Dare Devil Child


You know, blogging has given me so much more reason to look through old pictures, and once in a while I make a fun discovery.

The other day, I pulled this picture of two year old Gunny out of a stack, and laughed out loud as soon as I saw it.

steve-2-years-old-1  In case you can’t tell, he isn’t just looking at the grass.  He is preparing to leap off my parent’s back step.  As soon as I saw this picture, I remembered him doing this and how we laughed every time he did it!

But, we had already had an experience that should have warned us that this kid was a dare devil. 

steve-18-months-1  At 18 months.  (I had written on the back of this picture, “This is rare.  Usually he is carrying the bike.”)

At 18 months, when my back was turned, he (surprisingly quickly) climbed onto his high chair, reached for a glass on the near-by counter, knocked it on the floor where it broke, and then fell out of the high chair into the glass, almost severing his left thumb.  He required 2 1/2 hours of surgery to fix his hand.

Again, when he was about two, a friend of Hubby’s was sitting in the living room at our first house, waiting for Hubby to come downstairs so they could go somewhere.  (We were all upstairs.  Hubby getting ready; me taking care of baby DD; Gunny just being Gunny.)  The visitor was sitting on the sofa, facing the stairs that came down the opposite side  of the living room.  He said he suddenly saw two year old Gunny, wearing one of Hubby’s cowboy hats pulled way down over his whole head, walking precariously down the steps.  The guy said he was afraid to say anything for fear of scaring Gunny and guaranteeing he would fall.  So, he just watched and prayed, and Gunny finally made it to the bottom, took off the hat and gave him a big smile like, “See what I did!”.

When DD was born, Gunny was two years and two months, and still sleeping in the baby bed, but now we needed that bed for her, so we put him into a regular double bed (because we already had one of those and money was tight).  His room was small, so all it really had room for was the relatively big bed against one wall and the dresser and mirror on the opposite wall, with about 12 inches between the two.  When I would put him to bed for a nap, sometimes (usually!) he wasn’t really interested in sleeping, so he would “entertain” himself by jumping back and forth between the dresser and the bed.  I quickly came to recognize what this sounded like from downstairs, and would go up and stop him and make him lay back down and tell him to sleep!  (The curtain rod in his room drooped badly, because he would hold on to the curtain to aid in his jumping!) 

One time when I thought (the foundationless hope of a sleep-deprived young mother of an infant and an active toddler, who would have loved a nap herself!) he was sleeping, he suddenly came down the stairs holding out his hands and, in a really guilty-sounding little voice, saying, “Mommy”.  I looked up from the clothes I was folding and could see something white on his hands.  I said, “What is that?”.  He said, “Paint”.  I immediately guessed what paint, but couldn’t believe he had been able to get to it.  We had just re-done his room at the same time he got the “big boy” bed, painting the walls white, and installing dark blue and green tweedy indoor/outdoor carpet.  The remainder of the can of paint was still in his closet.  While he was supposed to be sleeping, he had opened the closet door (which I didn’t know he could do), and then knocked the can of paint over and the lid popped off, spilling the white paint onto the new dark blue carpet right in front of the closet door.  Then, being a resourceful little guy (and motivated, I’m guessing, by the potential “wrath of mommy”) he had tried to use his hands to put the paint back in the can! 

I ran upstairs and saw the paint on the new carpet; it was kind of laying on top of the carpet in a pile (luckily, washable paint, not enamel paint).  I quickly tried to think of something I could use to scoop the paint up with, and ran to get the snow shovel (any port in a storm, right?).  For the next few minutes, I frantically scooped paint.  Actually, the shovel worked pretty well.  After I had scooped as much as I could, I used bath towels to soak the spot on the carpet with water and then used dry towels to soak it back up.  I vividly remember as I ran back and forth between his bedroom and the bathroom, little Gunny running along behind me saying over and over again, “I love you, Mommy” in such a sweet, contrite little voice that how could I not forgive him, especially after the white paint miraculously came out of that dark carpet (How fortunate that it was the tough, indoor/outdoor type and that it was new!). 

I guess you could say Gunny just had an aversion to naps.  But, “hope springs eternal” so I had always tried.  One time, when he was about a year old, when he was supposed to be napping, he scooted his baby bed over to the chest of drawers, opened a drawer, found a bottle of baby aspirin, and ate some (before baby-proof caps).  When I found him a few minutes later playing with the open bottle of aspirin in his bed (which was now in front of the chest of drawers), I freaked out!  I immediately call the doctor’s office.  After they had me estimate how many he had eaten, they weren’t too concerned, but said I could give him OJ mixed with milk to see if I could make him throw them up.  And, if he went to sleep, I shouldn’t let him sleep too long.  

I gave him the OJ/Milk mix, which I tasted and it was awful.  He drank it.  Never threw up.  And, didn’t even take a nap that day.

Just the beginning of a very exciting childhood for our “dare devil” child who would cause us to be on the “frequent flyer plan” with the local ambulance service and probably have people who worked in the emergency room saying, “Here they come again!”.

11 Responses to A Dare Devil Child

  1. Beth says:

    Oh, my goodness, Sandra! My heart is beating a little faster just reading this. I can’t imagine a child so, um, ATHLETIC 😉 at such an early age! Those first couple of years of mobility are already scary since children have abilities but not much awareness of danger. And add in his daredevil personality–yikes!

  2. Hilary says:

    That first photo is just adorable, Sandra. He sure sounds like he was a going concern. My older son very rarely managed a nap – his mind was too busy. It sure sounds like Gunny’s mind (and body) was always set to high gear. Funny how those incidents, so huge at the time, are remembered mostly with a smile from the perspective that their growing up brings.

  3. Dina says:

    That photo is awesome! Gunny was certainly an entertaining child – great stories! I’m glad my Elise hasn’t been quite as entertaining. Lots of near misses…like falling face first into a rack of deer antlers laying on the floor at my brothers during Thanksgiving. Gave her a really nice shiner and cut her eyelid. Could have easily punctured her eye and caused some serious damage, so we were very thankful for the near miss. Kids definitely add excitement to life – LOL.

  4. Your website is soooooo nice, Ken! My eldest dd tinkers with nature photography so I’d like permission to fwd your blog site if you will? I have to find hers as I think it’s changed now she’s not making and selling handmade jewelry.

    Lynda Sizemore
    Registered Midwife, and a “so-so” photographer

  5. Sam says:

    I giggled my way through this. It’s easier to giggle after your own are grown up and they and they house/car/parents/neighborhood survived. Great post, Sandy!

  6. Sandra says:

    Beth — Yikes is right! Good reason for God not to let us know what the future holds — my heart wouldn’t have been able to stand it!

    Hilary — Absolutely. So much easier to enjoy these stories after the fact. Naps are wasted on the young, don’t you think? As adults we enjoy them so much more, but then don’t have the time! 🙂

  7. Sandra says:

    Dina — Yes, children are “exciting”. And, I think it’s all those near misses that give parent’s their first gray hairs! 🙂

    Lynda — Hmmm. you left a comment for “Ken.” No Ken here. Sorry. But, thanks for stopping by anyway. 🙂

    Yes, Sam. These are the kind of stories we can have a good laugh about now. But they weren’t so funny when they were actually happening, were they? I’m glad you enjoyed it. 🙂

  8. chrissy says:

    Too funny! What an adeventure he put you on constantly!

  9. Loved the paint story. What a little stinker. My son once stuck a band-aid in his cranium via his nose, while he was supposed to be napping. Kids!

  10. TZ says:

    what great stories! So what I hear is, “hang in there, they do survive and eventually grow up”….moms of young boys need to hear this…we’re frequent flyers ourselves at the ER…I’m very happy that a Children’s Hospital opened an ER at a hospital close by….

  11. Sandra says:

    Chrissy — Kind of amazing we had DD after having him first, wasn’t it? 🙂

    HPKT — Boys are just extra fun to raise, aren’t they? 🙂

    TZ — Yes, there IS hope. He did actually grow up to be a reasonably careful adult. 🙂

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