Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Jukie Antics

“You should write a book.” I hear this often. Everyone seems to think there’s a book to be written about life with Jukie. His antics are practically Davis legend. Jukie’s hijinks are both so maddening and entertaining that they’ve made for many a humorous party story. It’s that “laugh or you’ll cry” thing. Only, I don’t have to look hard to find the humor. Jukie’s pretty damn funny. I mean, who else but Jukie would get into a tug-o-war with a 90-year-old with her own cane?

The chaos started early. As soon as he was up and walking, he was pulling stunts like dunking his Nana’s camera into her coffee. Soon we discovered that he’d often announce his plans with a fiendish laugh. When the room is still and Jukie giggles to himself out of context… look out! And if he’s laughing maniacally as we tuck him into bed, we know it’s going to be a long night.

When he was three years old, Jukie dragged a chair across his nursery school classroom over to the fish tank. Then he grabbed a teapot from the housekeeping area and proceeded to climb up on the chair and scoop the fish out, pouring them all over the counter. When I arrived at school to pick him up, his teacher announced, “Jukie went fishing today!” (Thank God for those fabulous teachers over the years who love and “get” Jukie!) No water source is safe. Jukie. Loves. Water.
Water table set out for play? Jukie will sit in it. Water sitting in a glass on the table? Jukie will pour it all over the newspaper.

One of Jukie’s mottos is: why walk when I can run? As with all children with SLO, Jukie’s motor skills were delayed. Unlike most of his SLO buds, Jukie learned to walk at 17 months and learned to RUN almost immediately thereafter. When I say run, I do mean RUN. He runs everywhere. And he’s fast. His psychiatrist (at KKI/Johns Hopkins, and an SLO expert) says that Jukie is the most hyperactive child she has ever met. Ever. Jukie has scaled our six-foot fence and run a mile away from home (sans shoes or shirt). After a 911 call and frantic search, he was located at a favorite park, playing quite happily in the sand. Only Jukie could manage to run headlong into a blind man and steal his cane (see the IKEA story -- clearly, Jukie has a thing for canes). Perhaps because he’s so small for his age, Jukie continually surprises others with his speed. At Costco once, Jukie sat in the shopping cart watching the employee ring up our purchases. As soon as the cash drawer opened, Jukie reached down, grabbed all of the pennies and chucked them up in the air as hard as he could so that they rained down upon our heads. Even if I had known what he was planning, I’d have struggled to stop him with his lightening quick speed. He’s also got excellent evasive moves. You’d think that he, rather than his sister, had been studying Tae Kwon Do for years when you watch him expertly escape my grip on his wrist and flee – all in one swift move. There are many times when I’m no match for my crafty running boy.

Jukie could climb before he could walk; climbing is his thing. Like a cat, he prefers to perch up high. When he was born, his droopy eyelids (known as ptosis) prevented him from seeing much of the world. It was as if he were always wearing a hat with a brim down low over his eyebrows. Climbing enabled Jukie to see the world. Jukie is resourceful and figured that out early. So we let him. We provide as many high spaces as we can for our boy to get his climbing fix. But, he had one more space in mind. A few months back, we heard a knock at our door. Who could it be at
11:30 PM? Of course, it was our neighbor, out walking his dog, who noticed Jukie climbing around on our roof. Our ROOF. Jukie had managed to open his window, rip off his screen, and climb out and onto the roof. There may not be an accomplishment for which Jukie feels more pride. He knew exactly what he wanted to do, and figured out a way to do it. That time he ran away, I had previously told him that we were not going to the park (as he had requested through PECS). So, he climbed the fence and took himself. The most successful explorers have always had more bravery and curiosity than sense. Jukie is our little Magellan.


  1. Oh, man! The roof! Luke's fine motor skills and fear of climbing (in-part due to poor depth perception) have mostly prevented any high-jinks like Jukies! (I kind of had the opposite. He walked at 17 months but couldn't get to standing until nearly 2. Stairs were between 2 and 3. Learned to crawl at about 3. Jump at about 4. He's still not fast when he runs!)

    So what do you do/say to the victims of his fun? Like the poor people with the canes or the penny incident?

    Luke's favorite one is to pretend he's the Cat in the Hat and "make a big mess". He dumps all the toys, plants and anything else within reach....I hope he's forgotten about that game!

  2. Great post Kate! BTW I'm Denise who you generously shared your coveted table with at pub quiz several weeks back:) Cheers!

  3. Thanks, Kate! Love your always :-)