Friday, July 9, 2010

My Son, Tarzan

I knew it would happen eventually. A couple of days ago, when I caught him pulling himself up on a chair, I knew it would happen soon. But I didn’t expect it would happen today. We had just gone grocery shopping and Ryan seemed to be running out of steam a bit, so as soon as we got home I popped him in his crib with the fan on him in the hope that he’d take a nap before our company arrived this afternoon. I unloaded the groceries from the car then headed upstairs to the nursery to see how he was doing. As I walked in the door, I saw him kneeling against the side of the crib, and as I watched, he pulled himself up to his full height (head and shoulders over the side rail, even with the mattress in its lowest position) and let out a long, loud, Tarzan-worthy yell. And then gave me the biggest, proudest grin I’d ever seen.

It’s true: my son has turned into Tarzan. Only a few days ago he was safely earthbound, and now he’s climbing up everything that’s not nailed down. He’ll pull himself up on the side of the playpen, the side of the crib, the edge of our bed, the couch, the ottoman, a kitchen chair, a deck chair, the leg of any unsuspecting bysitter. If he can grab onto it, he’s hauling himself up on it. And of course, the triumphant yell merely completes the Tarzan image.

I’m not sure if Edgar Rice Burroughs described Tarzan’s yell in particular detail in his books, but whether or not he did, I have to think that Ron Ely (or whoever may have played an earlier version of Lord Greystoke) based the famous sound of his movie yell on the proud yodel of a baby who had just mastered standing on his own. It’s a sound that is proud and triumphant, a call for attention – and also a call for help. Ryan’s yell is certainly a call for anyone in listening range to come and admire and praise his accomplishment – but with an undertone of calling for help. Getting up is still easier than getting down, and although he generally thuds down onto his well-padded backside without too much anxiety or pain, he seems to prefer some assistance in cushioning his fall.

I have no doubt, however, that the need for assistance will disappear as quickly as the ability to pull himself up appeared. In just a few days I will probably be wishing that he’d yell when he stands up, or even that he’d fall back on his backside – because in a few days, he’ll probably have also figured out how to get himself up and over all those fences and rails and pieces of furniture that he’s currently scaling.

Anyone have a few dozen extra sofa cushions I could borrow for a couple of months??

Bookmark and Share