There's an English expression, "ass over teakettle". It means to take a wild fall, forwards or backwards. It's an odd idiom, but pretty common -- universal, really -- so you don't realize just how odd it really is, until your wife turns to you and says, "What was that you just said?" It has come up a few times recently, because our son has been quite the bold explorer lately. Ass over teakettle #1: the front steps. There are three of them just outside our front door. Alan loves to stand on the top step and look out over the little courtyard that fronts our house, like a monarch reviewing his kingdom.
Now, he knows how to go down the stairs: get down on the ground, turn around backwards, and crawl down one step at a time. But that's not... imperial enough. No, the preferred method would be to stride down the steps, arms outspread, his Majesty descending to grace the peasants with his presence. Unfortunately, walking down steps is trickier than it looks. Especially when each step is half as tall as you are. Ass over teakettle. Thing is, I was standing right there. But I couldn't believe he'd actually try it. Ha! Ha! Yes, I know. A big scrape on the top of his head, no lasting damage as far as we can tell. A over T #2: Three days ago he discovered that he could climb up on the little table next to the sofa chair. (It's a little table that used to hold a lamp, a few books and Claudia's knitting. All those things migrated to higher altitudes a while ago.) Two days ago, he discovered that if he leaned waaaay over, he could climb from the table onto the sofa chair. Happiness! But beyond the foothills, greater heights beckoned tantalizingly above. Why sit in the sofa chair when you could climb up onto the arms? And why stop on the arms when you could climb up onto the back? And, say, isn't that the TV remote up there? All the more reason... That one was a double. Clutching the TV remote, he plummeted off the back of the sofa chair, took a clean bounce off the cushion head-first, and hit the floor after a rather lovely backflip. Two bruises, head and backside. -- Actually, we're starting to lose track of the bumps and scrapes. A horrible thing for parents to admit, I know, but I just had this conversation with Claudia: "Honey, what about that big lump on his forehead last week?" "Which?" "The really big blue one." "Oh, that's the one that we never found out how he did it." (True. He wailed, we ran into the room, he had a huge bump on his forehead. The working theory is that the lid of the toy chest fell on him, but he could just as easily have run head first into the wall. To see what would happen, like.) "I thought that was the one he got from running into the bottom of the kitchen table. " "No, no, that was Friday. The big lump was like Wednesday." "Oh, right. Thanks, babe." Is this unusual? It's a bit hard to tell. Every kid collects bumps and dings. And parents have a habit of one-upmanship, especially once they're safely past the period in question. ("Oh, when Jason was fourteen months old we found him playing with some spent nuclear fuel rods.") So we don't really know if he's unusually active or just... active. So, we pick him up, we hold him until the wailing dies down, we kiss the latest scrape scratch bruise or lump, and we make faces and head-butt him in the belly until he giggles and we give him something to play with. And then we go in the bedroom and lie down for a moment until the trembling stops. Ass over teakettle.