Yesterday, I gave you pictures, and a request for comments. I hope you enjoyed the pictures. As there were no comments made, I’ll assume that everyone knows how to grill the perfect turkey. So for today’s page, we will continue our journey back to a time when life was more innocent, and babies ruled the home.
Munchkin 2 grew quickly and was soon sitting up by himself. Like his sister, he couldn’t wait to learn how to manipulate his little arms and legs so that he was mobile. And like with his sister, I couldn’t help but to assist him at every opportunity.
Before long, he was taking his first tentative steps, and falling backward to a sitting position, further proof that babies were born short for a reason. With mobility came the challenges of life. Munchkin 2 proved adept at grasping things that he shouldn’t be touching, like anything hanging from any table-top that he could reach. He pulled things down on himself regularly. Of course this would create a noisy and sad little munchkin that we would soon console to the best of our ability.
It was at this time period that we purchased, for munchkin 1, a Wonder Horse, you know, that incredible toy that looked like it had just jumped from a merry-go-round and onto a spring-loaded frame that allowed a youthful rider to either bounce up and down, or rock forward and backward energetically. This Wonder Horse was a full sized version, the largest we could find at Toys-R-Us. When we placed munchkin 1 in the saddle, and showed her how to hold onto the wooden dowels that poked out from either side of the horse’s head, she just sat there… for a moment. So wanting our first born to experience the thrill of riding this wonderful toy, we lightly bounced it with our hands. At first, she was a little frightened. But before long, munchkin 1 was riding Wonder horse like a pro, in both modes.
There was an obvious problem with this toy though. It was so large, that though our beautiful and adventurous little girl could climb onto the frame, she couldn’t swing her legs up onto the saddle. It was frustrating for her. and it wasn’t that she was clumsy or inept. She was very agile. Rather, the toy was just too big for her little body to navigate. So I thought about the problem and came up with a solution. I purchased a piece of plywood and cut it to the proper length and width to fit the frame from sided to side. This provided a platform that allowed munchkin 1 to climb onto and then into the saddle. Unfortunately, the platform got in the way of the horsey legs. I solved that problem with a jig saw, but cutting the plywood into an hourglass shape. The legs cleared the platform easily, and munchkin could climb aboard any time she wanted.
Remember the story where munchkin 1 chased down the thief and gave him what for? That was an aberration from her normal character. She loved to share, and to make others smile; and she loved playing with munchkin 2. It didn’t take long before she was asking us to place her brother onto the horse in front of her. She would then hold him in place with her little arms while she grasped the wooden handles, and give him a ride. We of course thought that this was perfect, as it allowed us time to get chores done, at least for a little while. And how did our little guy react? He loved almost every minute of it. She sometimes bounced him up and down, and sometimes rocked forward and back, always with extreme energy. She could really get that horse moving.
Now I said that usually, munchkin 2 loved riding with his sister. But there were times when all was not fun and laughter. Occasionally, munchkin 1 would get that horse moving so briskly that her “not yet walking” brother couldn’t keep up, and his poor little chin, or nose, or forehead would bounce against the back of that horse’s sturdy plastic neck.
Several years previous to this time, I rode real horses, out of a stable located on Millington Naval Air Station, in Tennessee. Some of the horses were notorious for trying to lose an inexperienced rider. One day, I swung into the saddle of one such animal. Her reins stretched from her mouth to her tail, and I accidently sat on them. Wouldn’t you know it but this huge, and fast creature decided that this was the perfect moment to bolt.
So there I was, with the horse galloping down the trail as fast as her legs would carry her, while I was standing in the stirrups, trying to pull the excess reins out from under me. I was in no danger of being thrown, but knew that I had to get the mare under control before she did something extra stupid that would hurt either her or me. The best way to stop a bolting horse is to turn tis head firmly to one side or the other, using the reins. And of course I couldn’t because I was sitting on them.
Just as I got the reigns firmly in hand and started turning the mare’s head, she ran me into a tree-full of low hanging branches, some of which broke against my body, while others whipped me in the face. I had numerous holes in my brand new jacket, scratches on may face, and was very angry. That’s when I learned that the top of a horse’s head is tougher than is my hand. I punched this critter right on the crown of her head, between the ears. And I punched her hard. From martial arts training, I know how to hit things hard, to break boards, and to maximize the force of the blow while still protecting my knuckles and wrist. Even so, the man that thinks he’s going to hurt a horse by punching it between the ears, either is ignorant of the hardness of a horse’s skull, or is a fool. I can honestly say that I was ignorant. I only made that mistake once!
I imagine that to munchkin 2, striking that toy horse’s neck and head was to him like punching that live horse’s head was to me, except that he did it with his face! You can guess the results. It took several episodes of careful explanation before munchkin 1 understood that when she shared the horse with munchkin 2, she couldn’t ride him quite so vigorously. But she did learn. Eventually, munchkin 2 could sit behind her and hold on well enough that we didn’t have to worry about face-plants any more.
Remember how munchkin 1 was the prettiest baby ever? Well munchkin 2 came into his own at about 2 years of age. The face plants did nothing to harm his cute little munchkin face. All of the neighborhood ladies, and girls oohed and ahhed over him. This continued until he got married. His 5th grade teacher was so enthralled with him that she confided in us that she wished that either he was much older, or that she was much younger, because he was just so adorable. Girls were drawn to him like a bear is drawn to honey.
All I know is that these two scary smart munchkins, and later, munchkin’s 3 and 4, were to give us more joy, and more challenges than any thing else in our lives. Both he and his youngest sister are experiencing those same challenges and joys right now, with a two year old, and a 1 year old, both of whom are scary smart, and as cute as munchkins can possibly be. All I can say is, good luck! But that’s their story.
One more thing before I close; there was a leader from our church who said something so profound, that I have made it my mantra. But since my memory isn’t exact, I will paraphrase it just a little. – “No success outside the home can justify failure within the home.” What that means to me is that family comes before all else, period.
Goodnight once more, and I wish you a great night; G.W.North