Wednesday, July 21, 2010

All Around the Mulberry Bush

When I was little, I thought my cousins had the coolest house in the world because the first floor had a central staircase and you could walk all the way around it. Start in the kitchen, go down the hall into the living room, circle around past the coat closet into the dining room and then back into the kitchen again. Our house had a wall so although you could start at the front door, go into the living room then through the kitchen and down the hallway into my parents’ bedroom, then there was a wall that stopped you from making a complete circuit. I remember loving the circular floor plan, but I didn’t really remember why. Until Ryan discovered that our basement has the same floor plan.

Just this morning I was lamenting to my husband that we don’t have a good, big area where Ryan can just crawl to his heart’s content without running into an obstacle (like a wall). But when I brought him downstairs and let him crawl, he started making circles around the staircase. He’d start at the base of the stairs and crawl toward the laundry room (stopping along the way to hoist himself up on the Coleman cooler, which he then licked repeatedly), then finding the laundry room door closed he’d head down the hall towards the study, stopping to check out the dead computer case and the magnets on the soda fridge before rounding the corner (peeking in the bathroom on the way by), banging on the big radio as he headed for the den and pulling himself up again to creep between the sofa and the playpen, then carefully working his way across the sofa before plopping down at the base of the stairs and starting his rounds all over again. It’s great, because he never has to stop unless he wants to. He doesn’t come to any frustrating obstacles that force him to turn around and explore where he’s already been. And by the time he gets back to his starting place, it becomes new and interesting again! So he can explore for hours without getting bored.

I guess it’s one step up from a hamster wheel – the hamster keeps running and running and never has to stop, and is dumb enough to either not notice or not care that the scenery never changes. Ryan can make a full circuit of the floor before coming back to something he’s already seen, and that’s just long enough for him to either not notice or not care that he’s been there before.

So I’m glad that Ryan is smarter than a hamster. But I’m even gladder that in some ways, he’s not a LOT smarter than a hamster. He’s a lot cuter than a hamster, though – and hamsters are awfully cute.

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