I think I now know why wife and I do not have kids. It’s really quite simply that I would probably end up accidentally maiming or killing them due to some completely bizarre situation I would have never suspected or assessed ahead of time. Why have I come to this conclusion? Well, this Thanksgiving I about had a heart attack by the stupid actions of a toddler. Linda’s side of the family was down for Turkey Day and Christmas present exchange. We alternate between the families on the Thanksgiving and Xmas holidays so we just do both at the same time on the year we have Linda’s side for Thanksgiving. Having no kids, our house is really not set up well for children and my nerves are really not dulled enough to handle a whole day of them. So, after the presents were given to the kids, they began running one of the kids new trucks across our wood floors. They are supposed to be durable, but just in case, I introduced them to our wide open basement. After a little while I took a stroll down there to see how it was going. One of the kids then asked if he could use my treadmill. I was not too keen on this, but decided to indulge him.
Now to set the situation. We have a Spirit folding treadmill that sounded like a good idea when we were purchasing it many years ago. Not until we made it home with our purchase did it occur to us that the unit folds TOWARD the controls. This means that the tread deck ends up raising vertical in alignment with the electronic console. You may have already pictured this, but if you put the treadmill facing the wall it will raise up in an ideal manner leaving room free for other uses when not training. Now if you do not want to stare at a wall the entire time you are jogging, you might decided to face it away from the wall to maybe point to a TV (which is how ours is set up). Now, you can try to distract yourself while spending hours running nowhere. This setup means you will take zero advantage of the folding capability unless you just like staring at a large piece of metal sitting in the center of your room. Have you guessed the drawback of this type of setup? Let’s kill the suspense. To maximize the room space, you typically set the back of the unit near a wall, which in our case is a cement block wall, until we get around to finishing our basement. I like to think of this as merely incentive to keep my pace up.
Slowly the situation is becoming clearer although you might have jumped to a conclusion that is slightly different than reality. Having already decided to keep control of the situation, I stood on the side of the treadmill and made sure he held on to the front bar. I started it at walking pace and then brought the speed up slowly until he had to just barely jog. At all times the hand was on the kill switch in case something went wrong. The kid in fact did a great job and I was just about to end the activity when all of a sudden another kid (who I thought was upstairs with his parents) comes along the opposite side of the treadmill and JUMPS on the treadmill. The last time I checked, humans were suppose to be the smarter species on the planet having the ability to rationalize a situation and take appropriate action. Apparently this attribute develops MUCH later than previously thought. Let’s see, the person on the treadmill is moving his legs yet staying in one place… the floor he is on is actually moving as well… I am smaller so obviously it is okay if I jump on it… Non-Sequitur. Sure enough, the new kid goes winging back to the wall and proceeds to become quite acquainted to the black mat. My fingers smacked the kill switch while my heart missed at least 3 beats. While grabbing the kid out of the gap I looked him over for any signs of damage and only noticed he managed to clean a little of the tread on his pants. My attention to his situation triggered into his conscious resulting in the attention demanding scream and tears. With the heart back in the proper rhythm, we walked up the stairs and found his parents who treated the situation with little fanfare, confidently informed me the kid was fine and told him to relax.
I am guessing kids are more durable than those without believe. You probably also get a good idea of how a kid that age thinks and can assess a situation from their quirky point of view. This ability is probably learned over time, but without exposure to life with kids, let me tell you, it is darn STRESSFUL. Kudos to all you parents out there molding their little pieces of clay into successful young adults – and from the other perspective a new meaning to Thanksgiving Day.