Baby Steps 

Shortly after his nine month birthday, the baby mountaineer known only as ‘LBJ’ made a successful ascent of half a staircase while visiting his grandparents in Perth. It was long thought that all record of the achievement had been lost, but today Fifilab can reveal the contents of a hitherto unpublished diary which documents the climb.

Day One: Base Camp – Looking up towards the top, as far as the the half-landing on the horizon, it seems that I have set myself an impossible task. Why do we men push ourselves to achieve the impossible? Because we can? Because we just do? These questions are too much for one baby alone, I must remember to ask Mummy.

Day Two: The ascent begins. We are all in high spirits as we set off. I am in full voice and sing for a while. I also scream a bit and laugh as I move up the incline. These steps are more of a challenge than I had ever imagined.

Day Three: Without the benefit of the ground now, the climb has become immeasurably more difficult. Each step is half the height of a man and while I can still pull myself up to a standing position to face each one, getting my leg up and over the sheer face of each is a challenge. I wish I had brought my piano, it soothes me so.

Day Four: Fatigue is beginning to set in, it’s been hard going for at least two days. I am lucky to have a great support team in Mummy, who sits behind me shouting words of encouragement and Daddy who mysteriously appeared at the summit to keep me going – a vision? – perhaps. The air is thin.

Day Five:  These damn babygros! If I were barefoot I could gain purchase on the treacherous carpet and grip to move myself with each step, but the fabric slips and I fall back into Mummy’s arms again. Determined to keep going.

Day Six: A revelation – Daddy was not a vision. Yesterday he appeared again and seemed to have somehow got hold of my singing plastic toy horse, which he was using to incentivise me. The horse kept singing about eating grass and riding around – drove me mad!

Day Seven:  I must reach that damned plastic horse if only to hurl it down and smash it. It never stops with its song. I’m trying to work here!

Day Eight: The summit is in sight. Daddy seems particularly excited about it and it seems quite important that I get there. Is he in some sort of trouble and needs my help? Perhaps. For him, I power my body through the exhaustion.

Day Nine: The last push – I am almost too tired to move. My legs feel like jelly but my hands are still good and I find I can grip the carpet well. This carpet could do with a hoover, actually but who likes to hoover stairs? No one that’s who. Only the thought of a slap-up meal of warm milk straight from the bottle kept me going through these dark hours.

Day Ten: The final last section was hard and more than once I thought that I would not make it. Twice I slipped and fell back, then on the third attempt it was as though the hand of God reached down and gripped me around the waist. It lifted me up and across the final breach and over onto the landing. Come to think of it, it may not have been God, but Mummy who was right behind me, but no matter! I am here and have made it.

Daddy seems pleased – they both do, which is surprising because usually they busy themselves putting up gates everywhere to stop my endeavours.

Tomorrow we begin the descent, but for now I will pitch the tent and rest up tonight with my pipe.

 

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