Thursday, September 30, 2010

Hurricane Ryan

Hurricane Gloria. Hurricane Bob. Hurricane Katrina. Hurricane Earl. (OK, maybe not Hurricane Earl.) And now, Hurricane Ryan. All these hurricanes (except Earl, that is) left a large swath of destruction and devastation in their wake. Hurricane Ryan may have done it on a smaller scale, but he’s definitely done it. And he’s continuing to do it.

Our basement is a finished basement that consists of a large main room with a staircase coming down in the middle of it, and several small rooms off to the side. The basement has become Ryan’s main playroom. This week Herb took down the playpen and used it to barricade the stairs so Ryan has access to pretty much the entire main room of the basement. And he takes advantage of that access! He spends his time climbing up and then jumping on the couch, standing on the back of it and attempting to shimmy his way up the banister behind it. He commando crawls across the couch, knocking the pillows aside, and hurls himself onto the adjacent lounge chair, dislodging any random items that might be in his path. He crawls or lurches or marches over to the sliding glass doors and leaves wet, slimy mouth prints all over them, grabs a handful of napkins from the side table and (if I’m not fast enough) tosses them into the air so they cascade over the room like snowflakes. He fiddles with the birdseed tub and occasionally manages to get the top off, leaving handfuls of seeds strewn over the rug (again, if I’m not fast enough). He circles around the other side of the staircase and rips the magnets off the refrigerator, throwing them in the air. And then he comes to the piece de resistance: the shop vac.

I had no idea how many individual pieces a shop vac was composed of until Ryan took it upon himself to show me. First, he takes out each attachment from the little bucket attached to the end of the machine and bangs them on anything nearby, then strews them about. Then he removes the entire bucket, again banging it on anything nearby and then discarding it. He then proceeds to yank the hose out of the clamp on either side of the vac and drags the entire thing behind him like some monstrous pet. (I’m vaguely reminded of the poor dragged cat in the documentary, “Babies”. Apparently the vacuum is as resigned to its fate as the cat is.) This process leaves pretty much the entire rear hallway strewn with various objects.

And then he comes back around to the front of the room and starts the adventure all over again. I think the biggest attraction to leaving the wake of objects is that he’s discovered the fascination of throwing things into the air. He began by just waving objects around, then he dropped one and realized that it fell on the ground and stayed there. Then he discovered that if you throw it at the ground instead of merely dropping it, it will often bounce. And then, he discovered that if you throw it on the upswing instead of the downswing, it flies into the air and comes crashing to the ground with a satisfying THUD. So he very often makes his circle around the room by going from object to object and casually throwing each one in the air as he passes it. It’s much easier to do when there’s already a trail of toys around the room.

I used to follow him around as he played, carefully putting each item back into its place as soon as he moved on to something else. But then I realized that I was putting the same things back twenty times a day. Why not save myself the trouble and just wait till the end of the day to clear the path? He doesn’t notice the difference, and it certainly makes less work for me.

It’s very tempting to just leave everything out in the middle of the room all the time, and never put it back at all. After all, he’s just going to toss it around again tomorrow, right? But then again, I’ve already messed up both feet. If Daddy trips over Ryan’s stuff and ends up in a cast, we’ll all be sunk. Guess I’d better stick to cleaning up at least once a day after all.

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