Monday, June 14, 2010

"Nik Knows" - Episode 1

Nik is my son. He is twenty-two now. But when he was say, three, weeell, life was interesting. One never knew what you were walking into with him. But, it was felt, when he turned his attention to something, he got to know it, REALLY WELL.

I could give numerous examples. No. Trust me, very, very, very many.

So many that when he was three, his mother and I discussed the possibility of putting out a cartoon called, "Nik Knows" after our son and his experiences in life. This was because, when he did something, you just never saw it coming. He was brave to the point of insanity, and not so much because he was stupid, as because, it was so damn hard for him to get hurt; and finally, because he always did something that was so unexpected.

When I was still married to his mom, a short, at one time, sweet, at one time, kind of cute, "California-raised-in-Issaquah" kind of (at one time) blond (now a black die job, kind of older, no so young, well, not blond as I said).

He was Mr. ENERGY! Day. Night. Afternoon. Evening. Morning. Night.

When we put him to bed, usually at 7:30pm, hopefully, he would fall asleep by 11pm or so. No, really, let me say it again, 11pm, or SO. Not infrequently, 1am.

Years later, I met and married a sweet, gorgeous woman (no, not just to me, guys would stop and stare), mother to my daughter, babe deluxe, Horse expert and child Goddess (I should say, Child Whisperer) who introduced me to something called, "swaddling". Swaddling. Ever heard of it? Its when you wrap a baby tightly in a blanket. First time I saw her do it I was horrified. But then, the baby zonked out, immediately. IMMEDIATELY. I can only akin it to a chicklet, when you lay it on its side, and push down on it; it will stay there, frozen, unharmed, for up to half an hour. Really, I learned about it in Psychology at the University, tried it out myself years later, and it really works. And apparently it works with children.


But, I didn't know about that with my son. Sadly.

I guess swaddling can be overdone, because I've heard of incidences in the media where parents went beyond swaddling until the child, like, died. So, that's no good. But after a few weeks of no sleep, one can almost understand the overzealousness when once swaddling might be discovered. Take my son, case in point.

I was in the living room one afternoon, studying computers, as I was trying to get a higher paying job (yes, it worked out, but not until a divorce). I heard something, turned around the low and behold, was my son's mother, standing in the doorway, after six weeks of having to feed him every two hours, looking quite insane. She had been cutting food in the kitchen, so she was standing there, holding a large knife, her eyes were, insane, she said, "Do something with him. Do something with him. I can't take anymore. Do something...."

I weighed my options, having been in the middle of some deep computer architecture book, and decided, if I ever wanted to finish said computer book, I had better make an affirmative response to what she was asking. He was a trial to raise.

Years ago, I can remember my own mother saying to me, during periods of extreme frustration, and yes, because of me, she had said that she so very hoped, one day, that I, "will have a child JUST LIKE YOU!" I was only a kid when she said that. I was lucky, for my older brother, she had a cartoon on the wall of the kitchen which read:

"Sometimes I wish abortion were legal before you were born." Said by a mother to a teen son.

"And may you live in interesting times." A Chinese curse. I was a Chinese curse. It had been passed on to me. I was passed on to me.

Hmmm..."just like me". I had to think about that one.

Hey, I was pretty cool, really. I mean, NO one was as cool as me. If I could find someone like me, why, I'd have the best time possible. It would be, well, wonderful. How fun am I anyway. VERY fun. I LOVE to do fun things. Of course, my mother disagreed, but then, she never did those cool things, she only organized things after I was done, frequently putting them back in the radio, TV, or microwave. son turned out, just like me. He looked like me, was beefy like I was. No, not...hefty, or husky, but solid muscle, and a lot of it. One day, I put him on my knee, he was an infant. I held his hands over his head so he could stand on my knee, just for balance. But he DID it, standing on his own, his balance was incredible. I had never seen a baby that strong before. A real bruiser. Just like I was.

In the birthing room, the day he was born, the nurses called him, Bruno, because his 8'13" seemed so big up against his mother's diminutive 5'1". When she was pregnant with him, she looked like a beach ball with legs, really. One day, she wore a horizontally large striped sweater to a Japanese garden on a family outing with her parents and grandmother. She really looked like a bumble bee, very oversized, but comical nonetheless. Its true. I have pictures.

I'm going somewhere with this, just wait, because, I want to know where this goes too.

When I was a kid, in third grade, my mother came outside of our house because while she had been inside, she saw something drop from the sky, passing the window she was near, and looking remarkably like her son.

So about the time she got outside, she looked around seeing nothing. Then she looked up, and saw me just about to jump off the roof of the house, again. I got yelled at. I eventually got down. I didn't do that anymore. But I didn't understand, because, as I told her when she said, "WHY are you DOING that?" I said, "Because its so much fun falling."

"Doesn't it hurt when you hit the ground?" She said.

"No, not really." She just shook her head, said I'd break a leg, and told me to get down. What a downer. My type of kid was definitely better.

So, one day, thirty some years later, my own son, playing alone by himself, at about four years old, in our living room, in an apartment above a wine store. You can't make this stuff up, I searched and searched for a dumbwaiter while we lived there, but never found one; soon evaporated were thoughts of late night rummaging in the store for fine wines....

Anyway, I was in the dinning room with his mom, when we heard a large, boom and the floor shook.

We turned around, low and behold, we saw him in the living room, climbing back up on the couch. Wondering, we watched him, he didn't even look at us. He was focused on the center of the rug in the room. He raised his hands apart, leaped up, and flew out into the middle of the rug and descended, boom, hitting square dead center on the middle of the rug.

In a repeat performance, his mother and I watched him climb back on the couch. Incredulous, we saw him raise up off the couch yet again, suspend in the air for a moment, just long enough for us to both us to yell, "NOooooo!"

He didn't flinch, look, nothing, he was into the bliss of the fall. I knew that look. I felt that feeling. The same thing I'd experienced in jumping from the roof of our house, so many years before.

He landed square on his chest, it stunned him briefly, then he jumped up, and saw us looking at him, realized we had responded upset, as we yelled at him, saw that we had reacted with fear to his actions, and basically, that he had freaked out not only Mom, but unflappable Dad, too. He giggled.

We looked at one another stunned. How stupid WAS our son? We were especially stunned when we watched him climb back up onto the couch, in order to DO IT AGAIN. This time, we yelled his name, loudly! Same thing, he got up, did it again, only this time, we plotted. I think the falls on the hard floor were getting to him as when he hit next time, it wasn't quite as hard as before.

We looked at each other, and I said, "whatever you do, don't respond to him this time." She nodded that she was thinking the same exact thing. He flew up again, but when he hit the ground on his chest this time, and looked up at us immediately, he had no audience, we were looking the other way. I could see out of the corner of my eye, that he reacted to our NOT reacting, with great disappointment. He got up. I could see him considering his next move. We took a step off looking at something else.

And it hit him. His fifteen seconds of glory were over. He looked down at the floor. Then found a new toy to abuse, I mean, play with.

It was in this way, that "Nik knew", Stage Performance, audience approval, and the agony of your materiel going stale. But, he never tired of his thrill of, The Shock. A story that continued on, for another decade or so.

I'm only happy, that now...its his turn.

Only, I never cursed HIM. Besides, he's now has a girl. I've raised a boy and a girl now.

I wish him much luck.

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