Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Happiness Empty Apartment

This past weekend, my sister got married. She and her now-husband had found an apartment just before the wedding, so they haven’t had a chance to move any furniture in yet. This afternoon, Ryan and I took a field trip to see their new place. And Ryan discovered nirvana.

The living room and dining room are combined, so the main part of the first floor is one big carpeted room. Not only that, but it has lots and lots of electrical outlets, a low-hanging chandelier, a half-wall topped with banister rails, and windows that open with cranks that are at a reachable height for little fingers. Ryan couldn’t get enough of it. He played with the window crank at one end, then crawled at top speed all the way to the other end of the room, then sat and reached for the chandelier, then turned around and crawled back to the half-wall and stood on his tiptoes to reach the banister rails. After he’d done that a few times, he discovered the next bit of nirvana: the stairs.

Not only are the stairs carpeted, but they make several turns so it’s like crawling up a giant corkscrew. A giant corkscrew with several light switches at the bottom. And more banister rails. (That were just wide enough that he probably could get his head stuck between them. We did not explore that possibility, much to his chagrin.) He would have gone up and down those stairs for hours if we’d let him. But there was more: closets galore!

The biggest complaint about most apartments is not enough storage space. But this townhouse has closets and storage nooks all over. There’s a coat closet with swinging doors right inside the entryway. There’s a pantry with dozens of narrow shelves in the hall. There’s a Ryan-sized storage area under the stairs. There are drawers and cabinets all over the place in the kitchen and bathrooms. There are narrow linen closets tucked in here and there. Nearly everywhere Ryan turned, he found a door to open. And with nothing in them, no-one stopped him from opening them or sticking his head or hands in to explore them. So he tested them all, over and over again.

He discovered a number of places that were tantalizingly within reach, if he could only stand on his tiptoes or stretch high enough. He found that he could just barely touch the faucet and taps of the sink in the downstairs bathroom. He could reach almost all the doorknobs. He could peek onto shelves and into cupboards. He could even look out of the living room windows without needing a boost.

By the time Sue and Steven come home from their honeymoon, their bedroom will be furnished, at least, and I’m sure it won’t take much time for them to move their things into the rest of the apartment and make themselves a nice, cozy, furnished little nest. And I’m sure that the first time Ryan visits, he’ll find all kinds of things to explore and peek behind and crawl onto. But it will never be quite the same as that one magical afternoon when he was allowed to open every cabinet, flip every light switch, explore every staircase, and race around the room without being scolded or stopped. When you’re a toddler who’s all too used to being told, “Stop!” and “Don’t touch!” and “No!”, happiness truly is an empty apartment.

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