With a wobbly baby, a foam-filled home would be perfect

By Jayson Jacoby December 19, 2011 05:21 pm

My son Max has reached that stage when his mother and I dearly wish everything were made of foam.

I suppose we could lay in a goodly supply of Nerf footballs.

But those things are the very devil to stack.

And Max, though he stands barely two feet tall, has a considerable reach.

But stand he does.

Which is a problem.

Mainly it’s a problem because although Max stands, he does not stand well, or for very long.

And when, inevitably, he falls, he does so with the grace of a football player suffering a nasty muscle cramp.

(Or a professional soccer player who has been heavily breathed on by an opponent.)

What’s especially vexing about this situation is that although we sometimes pine for the time when Max was confined to the prone position, he’s awfully cute when he grabs whatever’s handy and hoists himself upright.

All parents will attest that a baby never wears quite so self-satisfied a smile as when he is standing beside a sofa, one chubby hand clutching the cushion.

Unfortunately, Max also relies on rather less stable pieces of furniture.

Rocking chairs, for instance.

And bar stools that you could blow over by popping a can of soda nearby.

(The stools have been banished, temporarily, to the bedroom.)

So far as Max is concerned, though, each is as solid as Gibraltar.

None of which is to say that we expect wisdom from a 9-month-old.

But, sad though we may be as Max begins the transition from baby to toddler, we’ll be relieved when the kid gets his sea legs under him.

We like to think of our home as a safe sanctuary.

But just recently the place has seemed sort of sinister, a no man’s land of hard surfaces and sharp edges eager to slice skin and bestow bruises.

And then there’s the furnace register in the kitchen.

Max’s obsession with that thing is one of long-standing, and I shudder to think what’ll happen when he figures out how to pry the thing off.

We can get by all right without the bar stools.

But we need the furnace.


.        .        .


Which is because, with December well on now, it has been appropriately chilly.

Also abnormally dry.

As abnormal, anyway, as a place can be which even under normal circumstances can be fairly described as soggy.

I appreciate a spell of clear, cold weather.

Blue sky presents an ideal backdrop for the white Elkhorns.

And there is a certain shade of rosy pink which paints the sky only during a winter dusk when the temperature aims to bottom out around zero.

But with weather what I truly relish is variety, and so the persistence of this arid pattern — better than two weeks gone — has begun to annoy me.

In particular, I’ve been frustrated by the occasional appearance of clouds which have in the main failed to precipitate.

Because I’m enamored of inclement weather, clouds earn their keep only if they dump moisture — ideally, copious amounts.

The benign clouds that have predominated during December have more to answer for, though, than merely depriving us of a snowy prelude to Christmas.

Their other crime is that, by slinking in at night and draping themselves over the atmosphere, as has happened on several occasions, the clouds act rather like a blanket, preventing temperatures from plummeting as they would on a clear night.

Even a scrim of stratus can prop overnight temperatures up by a dozen or more degrees.

Which quite a lot of people would say is a good thing.

But as I said, I appreciate nature’s extremes (some of them, anyway — I never wish for tornadoes or hurricanes or floods).

I’m disappointed, and not a little annoyed, when, after going to bed under a starry sky, with the digits on my thermometers moving backward at a perceptible rate, I awaken to an 11-degree rise and the gloom of a December overcast.


Jayson Jacoby is editor of the Baker City Herald.