Boys are like cats: They’re always directly underfoot, mischievous, and love to climb stuff. My two-year-old Max has the uncanny ability to always be in the exact spot I’m about to step when I’m trying to maneuver my way from the kitchen to the family room. One would think he might be a proctologist when he grows up…because he is up our butts daily when we walk around the house. Seriously, need to teach that kid about personal space. The hard part is that he’s trying to get our attention (which we want to give) but he’s circling around us as so you’re never quite sure where he is and then <BAM!> you knock him over and he looks at you like you’re the jerk. “You knocked me over Dada!” He tells me. Being an awesome and patient father I respond, “You weren’t watching where you were going.” He doesn’t get this. Max is a shark…he’ll die if he stops moving. He also loves to mimic his 9-month-old brother Dodge by saying “Mama, Dada, Brother, Max!” To prove he has better language skills and remain the sole beneficiary of all our attention and affection. It makes my skin crawl because he does it in a baby voice and he knows that I know he knows I know why he’s doing it. Then, of course, there is the climbing and launching his body off objects. The leather Manhattan chair that used to be the pride of my early 30’s is often a diving board or fort despite the constant reminders that it is “Dada’s chair.” The other day I found shoe prints on it and spilled yogurt. Not cool dude…not cool. So, like a hyperactive cat who keeps attacking the fish tank, my wife Kate and I have decided Max may be better suited as an outdoor member of our family.
Like any toddler Max loves the playground. Take him to the park and immediately he will climb to the highest point on the playground equipment and make as much noise as possible. Yup…he’s 2. So the grandparents decided the boys (mostly Max right now) needed a place at home to crawl on, jump off of, and just be boys. I couldn’t agree more! So, with a little help from our Elf on the Shelf Fred…Max got a little Christmas magic early! This morning Max searched the house for Fred and found him hiding in a tumbler with a few candy canes and a special note from Santa. The note read:
Enjoy a Christmas gift early, not from me.
It comes from my friends, Papa Doo & G.G.
Its something that is BIG!
Bigger than this card.
Put on your shoes! Bundle up!
Look in the back yard.
Max, still in his pajamas, tossed on his shoes and threw on his coat to see what was in the back yard. When we opened the back door…it was love at first sight! In the yard was a Woodplay Playhouse complete with a picnic table, ladder, raised platform, slide, rock climbing wall, wavy slide, monkey bars, and swings. “Fort Gates.” He immediately set to climbing it but decided the slide was a bit cold and he’d “wait till spring” to use it when it got a bit warmer. He was over the moon to have a swing in the back yard and still hasn’t discovered all the things it has to offer. Tears rolled down his face when Kate made him come inside and have breakfast. He was jumping on the platform when I peeked out the window before my shower, and bundling up to head back out to it when I left for the office. It’s like he finally has a scratching post!!!
Kate and I had debated if we wanted a set this big in the yard and my folks were concerned that she wouldn’t like it. They got a sweet deal on a display model that was just the right size and adding the wooden roof instead of a fabric one was such a great call. It looks better, has less maintenance, is sturdier, etc. We worried it could overpower the yard but it looks great in the yard…like it belongs there. It’s a classy piece of construction and better than the 4 post platform I was going to try to cobble together on weekends over the next few months then forget about and leave as another half-started project in the yard for a few years. The yard looks like a family’s yard now.
No matter the outside temperature (which is well below freezing) right now, rest assured that Max is probably in the back yard climbing “Fort Gates.” Dodge will be joining him soon as he has started climbing this week. He is sporting a sweet bruise on his forehead from climbing into the tub while I was showering the other day. I had to lower his crib to the lowest mattress setting because I caught him with one leg over the top railing the other night when he woke up. So much climbing! So much launching of bodies off of furniture. So much tackling. Hopefully, this new playhouse will convert these boys into outdoor boys…and it would be great if we could get some warm weather as well…at least above 40.
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