42. Non-Walking

Ask a boy to do a backwards one-and-a-half somersault full twist reverse pike dive off the screen porch roof, onto the trampoline, catapult to the top of the slide on the bounce and zip headfirst right into the pool without losing momentum, and he’ll figure out a way to get it done.

Ask a boy to walk in a straight line in a crowded hallway…impossible.  I have tried every method imaginable to instill this virtue upon boys, with zero positive results.  We’re like a moving health hazard in public areas.  Airports, malls, churches, you name it.  My boys are determined to take somebody out.

“Can we all just walk in a straight line like normal human people?” I plead.

Instead I get twirling, hopping, bounding, rolling, lunging.  Pretending the blue stripes on the carpet are “dragon rivers” which require humongous two-footed leaps to safety with giant thud landings that every brother is required to immediately replicate.

Tonight at church Nicholas was swinging his canvas bag in wild circles around and around himself until he created an orbit which continually spun off crayons, random snack crackers, and half-colored pages of Daniel in the lion’s den.

While walking backwards.

Keep in mind there are like 3 thousand people at our church.  I think at least 2,400 of them were forced to dodge sideways at some point to avoid one of my boys.

Why is this so difficult?  You know, just walking normally, remaining calmly aware of other pedestrians in your vicinity and avoiding inflicting major physical trauma upon them?  I suppose it’s all just too mundane for boys.  Lord knows I’ve tried every method to convince them that skipping backwards poses a significant menace to innocent civilians…

Not interested.  Proceed to careen sideways into the path of someone collecting social security.

I warn them in my somewhat alarming tone of voice about that one kid who flew around a corner when I was in third grade and broke somebody’s grandma’s hip…

Unfazed.  Attempt sliding down stairway handrails.

Really the only thing I’ve found that creates slow-walking boys that stay pleasantly close to my side and do not threaten others is to restrain them by their ear.  This produces excellent results.

If this works so well then, why do I still have problems, you ask?

Well because I have three boys.  And only two hands.

But I’m working on solutions, believe me.  We will learn to walk.  We may be 24 years old, but we will master it.

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14 thoughts on “42. Non-Walking

  1. Oh, you pose a wonderful argument for kid leashes! I used to pity the kids whose parents attach these devices to the back of their clothing. But, really, it’s a far simpler and less painful solution than the ear grip. Besides, each ski season I watch bunches of adorable 4 year olds learn how to ski literally feet in front of their parents while attached to such a harness. They seem to be having the time of their lives!
    Of course, your boys are a bit old for the leashes…if you fastened one to each of their squirmy torsos, they’d probably take off like rockets, finally in unison, pulling you through the city on your own personal Iditerod!

  2. If I had a dime for every time I said “Can YOUUUU JUUUST WALK???” One of mine thinks it is his responsibility to fight off invisible marauders at every moment. He lashes out at these villains with ninja-like moves, complete with any substitute object brandished as a makeshift sword. Twirls and kicks strike fear in the hearts of every innocent Walmart patron and this wearied mom who wonders if he will ever completely rid the city of all the bad guys……

  3. I’ve found that if we make a game out of avoiding the “lava” in the middle of the hallway and sticking to the “rock wall” said goal can be accomplished, albeit Mom looks just as hilarious but no one gets hurt unless they fall into the lava…pandemonium ensues after that =)

  4. Try using a set of clamp suspenders. You’ll have 4 ends to clamp on their ears!! Just kidding. Great post, Tony. Made me laugh.

  5. I dare you to give them a shopping cart. I mostly trust the 11 yr old – until he makes it his mission to use the cart to seek and destroy the 7 yr old. I must say 20 times, “Watch where you are going. Don’t run anyone over. You aren’t the only one in the store.” I have mastered the art of walking in front of a boy-driven cart. When I stop walking, I turn one foot up on my toes and wait for the cart to bump the sole of my shoe. Works every. Single. Time.

  6. Oh my… We haven’t even begun to think about getting that brave yet. Connor is 8. At what age did you start trusting him with cart driving duties? I can’t imagine it would turn out well for us at all. 🙂

  7. We spent a few days in New Orleans last week. Imagine walking thru the mobs in the French Quarter with a 5 year old Spider Man wanna-be shooting his web at everyone. Fun times.

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