Daniel, the older of my two sons loved his little red wagon and found so many creative uses for it. One of its riskier uses was discovered by my friend Carol when she came to visit me one day. She had gone out into the backyard to see the boys while my daughter Christina was at school, but only found Matthew quietly playing with his trucks on the ground. Daniel's empty red wagon was next to the back fence under some trees. As she walked out into the back yard to look for Daniel, she heard him yelling, "Sky high!" What she discovered took her breath away. Daniel had positioned his red wagon under the lowest tree limb in the back yard and used that limb to hoist himself up into the tree where he had climbed to the very top. Carol wasn't really worried about him actually jumping out of the tree like he kept threatening to do. What worried her more than his threats was that he might lose his footing and fall out of the tree accidentally. After trying to coax him down from the tree and realizing she was getting nowhere, she came inside to get me so I could handle it.
After getting him safely down and scolding him for climbing the tree, I got the saw from the shed and sawed off the limb flush with the trunk of the tree. I knew how little boys are and how they rarely followed directions the first time, so instead of having a repeat performance I decided it would save me some of my sanity by just cutting the limb from the tree. I know my boys always hated having a mother who could out think them and stay a few steps ahead of the game. Maybe being the youngest and only girl growing up gave me the head's up on what little boys were all about.
Not long after the SKY HIGH! incident, we moved into a larger house. One day while all the kids were outside playing in the backyard I was sitting inside enjoying a few minutes of solitude. All of a sudden I heard "thump, thump, thump" across the roof. It sounded like a giant squirrel had just run across the roof chasing a buffalo. As I looked up trying to figure out what the noise was, it happened again...thump, thump, thump. That time I got up and went outside to see where the noise was coming from and what was causing it. What I discovered on the roof wasn't a giant squirrel after all. It was a four year old who was in BIG trouble! Daniel had used the tree growing next to the house as a ladder to get up on the roof. In no uncertain terms, I told him to come down NOW! He knew he was in trouble and gave me his best "Oh Mom, I'm sorry" look. That look may have saved him from getting a spanking, but he did get punished and sent to his room so he could think about it. Over the next few weeks he pulled that same stunt a few more times which ended each time by getting a stern lecture about the dangers of falling and hurting himself.
The fourth time I caught him doing it, I was pissed! I snapped off a switch from the bush next to the back door as I steamed outside to get him down from that damn tree. When he saw me he knew he had pushed me too far that time and that his "Oh Mom, I'm sorry" look wasn't going to work. With a couple well placed whacks with the switch, I'm proud to say Daniel finally learned his lesson and never climbed that tree or any tree again. The only problem was that his replacement for tree climbing was even worse. For some reason, he decided to take up chasing snakes! I give up! Raising 2 boys is like raising 50 children! And now I have a legitimate reason for being crazy! Did I say I stayed a few steps ahead of them? Well, folks I lied!