|seventeen NOLS Alaska|
My son was an early walker, and would lunge like a two foot tall Frankenstein's monster at any dog, arms outstretched bellowing 'Daw! Daw!'. Leaning forward, the weight of his giant ginger baby head nearly toppling him, gaining speed, he lurched forward until he was face to face with the Daw.
Dogs loved this. He was clearly their new chew toy. He also had an uncanny talent for impaling his forehead on all coffee table corners. In hindsight, nicknaming him Danger Boy was a bad omen.
A logical adult knows it takes at least couple months before any real respect for your parents grips the conscious mind of a child. Screeching 'No!' as my lumbering infant went on Daw patrol was not effective. I had read in one of my useless baby behavior books, that I needed to redirect his impulses, so that 'No!' would not become another meaningless mom noise, like 'Wear a Helmet!' This was months before he gave up on crawling and started running with the dogs.
Throughout his school years it was much the same. He lurched forward towards the most exciting thing, skirting disaster, right on the razor's edge. Direction Danger, full steam ahead. My attempts at redirection have been mostly about health and safety, and largely ignored. From sunscreen, helmets, drugs, condoms, hitchhiking to the latest tattoo, I say my piece and hope for the best. Sometimes I tell him to call his aunt or Gramma, and miraculously he does.
|nineteen photo by one of his tribe|
He called while I was writing this. I had turned my phone off and he left a voice message. 'I'm in Reno. I'm fine. Well Reno isn't, this place is bad. My phone got wet but it's working now. We're hitchhiking to Salt Lake City today. Bye.' His Direction, for today, is East. That's all I've got, but for today it's enough.
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