Thursday, December 28, 2006


Jim The Small Child Nephew is never scared. He is the most unscared two-year-old in the whole world. It is only the things around him that experience fear.

"Carly scared," he said, hiding his loved-to-a-nub stuffed cat behind a drape as various cousins and grandparents poured noisily into his home on Christmas Eve.

"Baby Will scared," he announced from the back seat when his mother didn't take the expected route home from Grandma's house, apparently unaware that Baby Will shows fear by laughing at Aunt Beth's glove hitting him in the face.

Last week McQueen (R) (TM) (you owe Disney 47 cents for reading that name) was scared when the doorbell rang. But Jim, no.

He was stranded on the back porch without a scapegoat the other day when the vacuum cleaner, an object about which Carly, McQueen, and Will have all expressed apprehension, roared into use. He took two steps backwards, one small hand clutching my coat. "Aunt Beth?"

The screaming, headlit monster slid near the back door. I wrapped my arms around my sister's child. Aunt Beth's coat was terrified, so I took it and Jim to the back railing to watch the barges trudge down the Ohio River.

At one point Jim's hood slid down. I set him on the concrete to fix it. "Hold you?" he said, both arms in the air. I picked him up again, and he comforted my coat by batting at the string on the neckline. "Pull!" he said happily.

It was safe for all winter garments to return inside once the noise of the vacuum growled away. "I don't know if we should indulge this phobia," my mother said as I unclamped Jim's hands from the door handle.

"Weren't Julie and I scared of the vacuum?" I said.

"Oh, never."

Later, when I repeated the story to my father, he said, "I made sure you weren't scared of the vacuum cleaner. You used to ride on it."

"Mom never told me that."

"Your mother doesn't know."

We're talking one of these 70's Explosion, carrot-puke orange specials here that weighed ninety-seven pounds and sucked up not only dirt, but the will to live of everyone within earshot. But I shudder to think of the outcome if we attempt to plop 35-pound Jim down on the head of an Oreck. Progress is not always a good thing.

It makes my coat scared.



Sahara Chick said...

We have the cutest picture of Daniel-your-future-brother-in-law at 18 months old, riding our 70s-something vacuum cleaner. Looked like he was having tons of fun. I just remember being jealous.

Cbell said...

My youngest niece was scared of the beach. Yes. The beach. She loved the water, but hated the sand. You would attempt to put her down, and her little body would curl up into a ball and the screaming would start... "No Beach! No Beach!"

She got over it at about five.

Anonymous said...

At 3 years old (and a very transitional year for our family)my middle son became obsessively terrified of bugs. Not sure how it transferred, but any type of carpet was included in this catagory. He would literally go hysterical if we tried to put him down on the carpet in our (then) townhouse. We had to take him to the pediatrician, it was just freaky bad. He got over it in a few weeks.
I guess instead of carrying him everywhere I could have put him on the sweeper...

red pill junkie said...

Seems to me your sister's home must be a usually calm and tranquil place, and so any disruption of the peace and quite upsets lil' Jim. My family instead is very NOOOOISY, on Christmas and New Year's dinners is everyone yelling and laughing at the same time, together with the stereo at full volume, and my nephews FALL asleep despite all this. Then again, this is Mexico city... people can sleep riding a bus with the sound of Los Tucanes de Tijuana at full blast. Just yesterday some passengers were on this bus, and did not awake until after they realized the bus had been dragged by a train! True story!

PS: Who gave Jim the Lightning toy? was it perhaps NASCAR-loving uncle Josh?? ;-)

ShannJ said...

Awwww . . . how cute! It's so funny to see how their little minds come up with this stuff. I think my parents had the same vacuum.

kredin said...

Excellent post.

tamar said...

From laughter, to a viceral (sp?)longing for youth--this is one of your best posts (for me anyhow).

As a mother, I want to pick Jim up and make sure that he is ALWAYS safe from that vicious monster.


Thank you for inviting us into your life (through this blog), you always manage to either light up my day, or give me pause to ponder things larger than I am.

Once more....

Thank you.

Happy New Year! :)

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