When I was a kid, one of my most commonplace crimes was tilting my chair. I did it all the time, and got in trouble all the time – which didn’t dissuade me at all. To me, it was a question of mastering the difficult art of balancing on the back two legs of a chair. By the time I reached high school, I commonly sat through classes without ever letting the front legs of my chair touch the ground.
I still tilt. I can’t help it. When you take that many years to develop a habit, it becomes a part of you. I’m simply more comfortable tilting than I am not tilting.
My wife, of course, hates it. She has gone through all the lectures you’d expect. The “you’re setting a bad example” is probably the most compelling, although the “I know a kid who ended up paralyzed” variation is pretty good also.
And she’s right. Our oldest has already started getting in trouble for tilting in class, and I’ve no doubt that it is my fault.
I’ve explained to the kids (and their mom) that there are things that Daddies are allowed to do that kids simply aren’t allowed to do. Changing lightbulbs, for example, or slicing turkeys. Tilting is just one of those things. The kids seem to buy this explanation, even if their mom doesn’t.
Enough back story… On to the tale!
For the past few months, our youngest son has been experimenting with standing on chairs. He’s fallen a couple of times, without any injury, thank goodness. The other day, he was standing on a kitchen chair and leaning backwards against the chair back, rocking it back and forth on its back legs.
His mom and I caught him at the same time – and both of us yelled. It was scary seeing your four year old headed for a skull fracture.
“You can’t do that!” we yelled.
I followed it up with “You can’t control the chair that way. If it falls, there’s nothing you can do. You’ll crack your skull!”
My wife took the more straightforward approach. “That’s dangerous! Too dangerous! What if you fell?”
The little guy’s face clouded over. He pointed at me accusingly. “But Daddy does it!”
My wife defended me while I sputtered. “No, he doesn’t!”
“But he tilts his chair!”
His momma glared at me, exasperated.
For the record, there is a huge difference between tilting while sitting in a chair and tilting while standing in a chair.