Friday, August 20, 2010

Master of the House

Yesterday afternoon Ryan was on a tear – marching everywhere, curious about everything, getting into as much mischief as he possibly could. I figured that he’d burn himself out and be mellower today, but no dice. He’s got just as much energy AND curiosity as he had yesterday, and then some! And he decided to use all that energy exploring the house this morning.

Herb had gotten up with him and fed him breakfast, and by the time I got up, got dressed, and got breakfast, Ryan was downstairs in his playpen having a bottle as a little “topper”. I took him out, thinking he’d be happy to sit on my lap and work on the bottle, as he often does. Ha! As soon as he was freed from the playpen, he lost all interest in the bottle and wanted me to march around the basement with him. So he marched along the couch, looked out the sliding glass doors for a moment, stuck his head into the bathroom, paused for a moment to roll around a few cans of soda next to the fridge, peeked in the study at Daddy, stopped to play with the plastic tag on Daddy’s camera bag, made a thwarted attempt to explore the laundry room, and banged on the air filter for a few minutes. Then he did the whole circuit again. And again. And again. And then he climbed the stairs – but instead of the usual attempt to go back down the stairs once he’d reached the top, he decided to explore the kitchen.

He opened every cabinet and studied its contents. He smacked the front of the fridge and pressed his nose against the sliding glass doors. He crawled under the kitchen table to see what he’d dropped at breakfast. He preened in front of his reflection in the dishwasher, the stove, and the wine fridge. He smacked the trash can on the way into the dining room.

He examined the wine rack and stood up to drum on the extra chair. He fingered the decorative table with the wrought-iron leaves. He stared at the chandelier from every angle. He stood on tiptoe to peek out the window. He crawled through the entryway, pausing for a moment to check out the extension cord on the doorjamb. He nearly fell over craning his neck to look at the chandelier far overhead.

Just as he reached the living room, the clock struck the hour and he stopped dead in his tracks to listen to the chimes and study the pendulum. As soon as the echo of the chimes died away, he was off and running again – checking out the firewood, the fireplace doors, the fireplace tools. No sooner did I thwart that attempt than he scooted behind the lounge chair and discovered the guitar! He spent quite some time strumming the strings and (gently!) patting the body and listening to the reverberations. Then on past the piano and back down the hallway to go back through the living room, this time edging, crablike, along the glass-top coffee table, drumming as he went. Then a peek into the bathroom, checking out a few cabinet doors on the way, and the entire circuit again. And again. And again! He stopped to consider going up the stairs, but apparently decided he was too tired to manage the third floor explorations at the moment.

I wonder if he has the concept of, “This is my house” or “This is where I live”. Is he exploring because he understands that this is where he spends most of his time, and is likely to spend more time here in the future? Does he feel some primitive form of ownership? Or at least of familiarity? Is he exploring in order to create or deepen that familiarity? Or is it just curiosity and the knowledge that exploring here is allowed? Whatever his reason, he certainly does love becoming the master of the house.

Bookmark and Share