Motivated by General Geekery

I almost killed my 3 year old son today

Written By: der5er - Oct• 16•06

Or, at least that’s the story my wife will tell. I’ll tell you about a three year old’s quick reflexes, and how cool and collected they can be in a stressful situation…

Today was tree-work day. Actually tree work week. But today was the first day, and Cooper helped out, as much as a 3 year old can. He spent most of our time together picking up leaves and sticks and putting them in the truck.
Today, we had two dead trees in the front yard and one in the back yard that likes to hang in front of the Direct TV dish when it rains. Obviously, the third tree was high on my priority list! Cooper ‘helped’ with the two in the front yard by picking up the twigs that broke off as they fell. In the back yard, he was carefully inspecting my sawing technique (Oh, for the love of tools, I need a chainsaw!) and counting my strokes. Well, counting them up to ten–then he’d start over at one.
This tree was probably only 20 feet tall and not very big around. Of course, when Christi tells the story, the tree will be 50 feet tall and probably large enough that you could barely get your arms around it. Don’t get me wrong, it was a good sized tree, but it’s not like it came to the ground with a crashing thump.
When I got about half way through, I took a breather and told Cooper to stand by the swing set. You see, I reasoned that the tree was leaning towards the fence, and the direction I was cutting it would probably send it toppling that direction–away from the swing set, keeping Cooper out of harms way. The tree had other plans. When I had only a quarter of the trunk left to cut through, it started to move–the wrong direction–straight for Cooper. I was really in no position to be able to direct the tree’s fall, since it was still tied to it’s stump.
Cooper saw the tree move. Saw it coming towards him, and said, “Oh.” That’s it. No scream, no yell. Just calmly, “Oh.” And he ran. Normally, Cooper is a very goofy runner (think Phoebe from Friends), but not today. He gracefully put one 15 inch leg in front of the other as quickly as he could toward the fence. And he cleared the area well before the first branch touched the ground. The tree was exactly tall enough that it’s top branches would probably have brushed him if he had not run. Brushed him. This is key.
The tree falling might have given him a scratch. This tree was still alive, and still had leaves. So, the leaves provided a great deal of wind resistance and the tree didn’t so much fall as float to the ground. Well, not really float…it is still a tree.
After, I just couldn’t believe how calm he had been. I looked at him and he said, “Did you cut the tree down?” Always trust a three year old to ask the obvious question. Always trust a tree to fall in a different direction than you think it’s going to. And always trust that your three year old probably has better reflexes than you think.

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