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August 11, 2008


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Hooray for climbing trees!

A couple of years ago I was hanging out in a tree outside my office at school. The window to my office opened and another grad student stuck his head out. "Hey," he said, "I was just at your desk to tell you to look at the weirdo climbing the tree. But you weren't there. Now I see why ..."

Ugh, I am JUMPY about having posted this, even though the upshot is that I got to my son in plenty of time to give him the help he needed, and he got out of the scariest tree-climbing episode he's ever experienced without a scratch on him. But I am sitting here in a fit of paranoia, wondering if I ought to take it down instead of being glad that I was able to vault across the fence easily when I needed to.

I wanted to clarify the around-the-block thing, because we live in a funny little spot that's more compact than most blocks. In the tree picture linked above, the brown roof at the left belongs to the next-to-last house at one end of the block. The sliver of white house on the right edge of the picture is the next-to-last house at the opposite end of the block. The distances involved are tiny -- a total of about 800 feet for a full circuit around the block.

When my mom was a kid my grandma let them climb huge trees as far as they liked. They only had one rule: three of their limbs had to be attached to tree limbs at all times. One day a neighbor came over and was horrified to see my uncle way at the top of one of the trees. My grandma was completely undisturbed. None of her five kids ever got hurt. They neighbor never called CPS, either ;)I figure I'll have the same rule for my kids someday, though since I live in the Pacific Northwest where the trees are a lot bigger I do reserve the right to put a height limit on their climbing if it gets too out of hand.

No childhood is ever complete without tree climbing, that's one of the reasons why we moved to this house here. Late last year, it must have been December, my husband called out to me to come out of the house and see what Kelvin, 5.5 at the time, was doing -- he was way up high in our neighbor's pine tree. K was much more worried than I was because he didn't have the childhood that *I* had, climbing countless trees... Kelvin did climb down safely, but we told him to let us know when he wanted to climb the tree again, and to wear a helmet... Both my boys are extremely cautious and skilled climbers, even the 4 year old, so once in a while, I let them climb the tree.

I'm glad that the policeman is going to talk to that woman... and I hope you hear back from CPS soon.

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