My world is made of small treasures

I walked into the living room and there he was—a perpetual giggling ball of somersaults recoiling back and forth across the length of the couch.
The remaining three little peppers stood about in “jaw drop and stun” mode—clearly amazed as the little whippersnapper rotated in an orbit oblivious to the laws of gravity and Granny.
I, too, stood there in awe of the energy force captured in my three-year-old grandson. My parents were sitting at the kitchen table in the next room expressing their amusement in loud and healthy guffaws that translated into words like “parental payback” and “nailing J-ello to a tree.”
I suddenly understood why, all those years ago, my baby brother habitually was encapsulated in a large playpen.
My mind wandered adrift in my own childhood and the nursery rhyme that read: “Frogs and snails and puppy-dogs’ tails, that’s what little boys are made of.”
The heck they are! I grabbed a pen and paper, and scribbled a new version to the verse that included the inertia ingredients of the metal “Slinky,” monkeys, chipmunks, elastic bands, and slingshots.
I thought about the 17th-century British mastermind Robert Hooke, the father of “Hooke’s Law” of elasticity.
Wikipedia reads: “Hooke’s law of elasticity is an approximation that states that the extension of a spring is in direct proportion with the load applied to it. Many materials obey this law as long as the load does not exceed the material’s elastic limit.”
Yep, the youngster levitating off my couch was a prime example of that law. Perhaps, I pondered, Mr. Hooke took his inspiration for that 400-year-old principle from his own sons bounding about on the horsehair sofa.
Robert Hooke also was the first to suggest that matter expands when heated—clearly a deduction he made after seeing how angry his wife was when she found out he was using the children—his “Hookean” materials—as part of the experiment.
All I know for sure is that my grandson had been a compression spring in a former life and all that stored-up energy had sprung.
Saying “No” wasn’t going to work this time. Even the other grandkids knew that, as they looked at me with inquiring minds poised on what I was going to do to quell the one who was in clear defiance of the “no jumping on the couch” rule.
“SQUIRREL!” I shouted.
Both dogs leapt to attention at the back door and starting a barking frenzy, which stopped the little whippersnapper in mid-air as he cleared the coffee table, did a two-foot dismount, and ran to the living room window to look outside for the rodent.
“Can we go outside, Granny?” All four little peppers with saucer-sized eyes looked in my direction.
Okay. This is where I met myself—yet again—at the fork in the road of responses. How was I supposed to answer that?
I thought about the quote by Gene Perret: “My grandkids believe I’m the oldest thing in the world. And after two or three hours with them, I believe it, too.”
It was pitch black outside.
“Sure,” I replied, picturing the unleashing of four sprites who’d just eaten a whole chocolate “Skor” cake for dessert. They would scatter like the break shot after the eight ball and burst out in all directions—and I’d have to call in rescue helicopters with big spotlights to find them in the dark yard.
Then I remembered that earlier that day, Jon and I had hung more than 400 feet of Christmas lights in the evergreen trees along the driveway, making good use of a warm fall day to get the job done.
There are no words that do justice to the high-pitched glee that tumbled out of those little children when they all were standing underneath the long rows of trees that night when I turned on the lights.
Wonderment. Now that, folks, is what little children are made of.

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