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Running Around in Circles

It was coming up on bed time for the boys, and Cowgrit was directing Calfgrit8 to the bath. I was in the den with Calfgrit4.

Little CG4 was nearly bouncing off the walls with energy. Because of the way the day had gone, he hadn’t been outside for any exercise all day. That’s a bad, bad situation for a 4-year-old at 7:00 at night. He desperately needed to do something physical, or he’d just explode all over the house.

I was too worn out right then to get down and play rough with him on the floor, but I had to keep him away from the bathroom and his brother, else his energy would get CG8 all riled up and baths would be a crazy mess. Off the top of my head, I said, “Why don’t you run around in circles?”

“Why?” he asked.

“See how many times you can run around,” I urged. “I’ll count for you.”

To my surprise, he started running in a circle in the middle of the den. “Count, Daddy!”

I started counting his revolutions: “3, 4, 5, 6 . . .” He was running at full speed, round and round and round, in a 5-foot diameter circle. The image was like someone was playing back film too fast.

“. . . 12, 13, 14, 15 . . .” Normally, running in the house is not something we condone. But under the circumstances, I was fine with it.

“. . . 24, 25, 26, 27. . .” Wow, I was impressed. He wasn’t slowing down. I wanted to get a camera and record this exercise, but I was afraid that if I moved, it would break the spell.

“. . . 33, 34, 35, 36 . . .” Oh my God! At 38, he dove onto the sofa. “Oh, you can do more than that!” I goaded. He got up and went around again.

“. . . 41, 42, 43, 44 . . .” At 45, he collapsed in the center of the den. He hit with a thud, rested about three seconds, and then jumped back up. I swear, I think that boy could throw himself off a 20-story building and the impact on the sidewalk wouldn’t bother him.

“Can you run to fifty?” I asked.

“No,” he said, “I’m done running.”

No amount of talk from me could get him to run any more. He wanted some water. 45 laps! And although he was breathing heavy, he didn’t act tired. He just got bored of running. At least it did seem to burn off some of the energy he had bottled up.


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