Yup, Grumpy’s Brood All Got the Climbing Gene

Yup, Grumpy’s Brood All Got the Climbing Gene


All of the inhabitants of Grumpy Villa have a fear of heights. All of them tremble in their shoes each and every time they are required to fly in an airplane. Some of them feel panic attacks on high bridges while others down right refuse to get close to the edge of anything higher than two feet off the ground.

Indeed, all of them are acrophobiacs of the first kind. Keeping two feet on terra firma is the be-all and end-all of each of their existences.

However, if that is the case, why then has all of Grumpy’s offspring inherited the “climbing gene” ? Why do they venture to climb when high heights make them whine?

“Oh my God, oh my God, we’re so high!”

Wasn’t it comedian Steven Wright who said, “A lot of people are afraid of heights? But not me, I’m afraid of widths.”

With that said, Grumpy will complete the trifecta by saying that he has gone to great “lengths” to understand all of this.

You see, most of this climbing addiction occurred when the Grump’s kids were little, but as you’ll see later some of them carried a desire to get “high” (not that kind of high) into their later years.

Child rearing expert Sue Atkins had this to say, “Physically of course, children’s’ bodies crave challenge. Their little bones and muscles are anxious to grow strong while the brain is hungry to monitor and record the sensations of the climb for future use.

But more, climbing gives children the power to change their perspective – a key underpinning that fosters natural curiosity, discernment, critical thinking, and creative problem solving — all the things kids need to learn how to learn.”

Oh, that explains it then. Climbing is educationally and developmentally sound. It is pure and natural!

Tell that to a mom who finds little junior teetering on the edge of a counter top.

Or, perhaps you have been down this road.

MOTHER: “Oh, my God, Bob, Rosy just climbed to the top of the Christmas tree.”

CHILD: “Don’t worry, mommy, you’ve empowered me to learn how to learn!”

So, in the interest of science and education, and in the interest of logic and sanity, Grumpy intends to present to you a case study regarding this inherited “climbing gene”. He will describe how this behavior continues to add gray hair to his head and how it makes his heart go pitter-patter! He will provide visual and video evidence.

THE SMURF: Grumpy’s daughter gave the Good Wife and he fits when she was a toddler. She would climb up to counter tops and tables then climb the shelves in cupboards and hide there. One time she climbed UNDER the car and remained completely silent when we called for her. That scared the bee-jee-bees out of us as you might guess.

And, as you might expect, the playpen was no match for this wizard. She could climb out of that sucker faster than Houdini could slip from a strait jacket. One minute she was there. Another minute and she was gone.

Worst of all were the times she crawled/climbed up the 20 stairs to the second level so she could play or hide in her brother’s room.


The Smurf could disappear just like that. You had to keep tabs on her constantly, never allowing your eyes to wander.

When the Good Wife would ask, “Where’s the Smurf”, Grumpy would simply reply, “Just look up, honey. She’s at it again.”

Sometimes we wondered if she had a monkey’s prehensile tail hidden in her cute little bloomers. You can just imagine the dangers of having a diminutive Smurf in your home that could climb and climb fast.

THE PHENOM: The Phenom, much like his big sister, took to the air at an early age.

One day when he was about six another child came banging on the door to say, “Come quick, Mr. Gumpy. Take a look at him!”

Grumpy ran to the curb and followed that child’s outstretched arm and finger and, try as he might, saw nothing.

“Where”, Grumpy said in frustration?

CLIMBING 002“There”, said the child jabbing her finger with eyes that read –ARE YOU BLIND MISTER!

Finally, Grumpy averted his eyes and spied the Little Phenom clinging to a branch at the very summit of a very tall tree.

He was smiling like a bird dog!

“Egad!” Grumpy said, or perhaps it was another four letter word he expressed, which in turn, was probably modified by the word, “Holy!”

You see, an older boy had double dog dared the little imp to climb to the top of that tree, to which he gladly obliged.

To this day, Grumpy says it was THE CLIMBING GENE that was at fault. No six year’ old is capable of that kind of monkey business. Unless, of course, they have – you guessed it – a prehensile tail.

Moreover, every time the school bus arrived bringing the Phenom home from Kindergarten a certain routine had to be followed. You see, the little gaffer never came directly to the door of the house.

Sometimes he stopped to relieve himself behind the big old pine tree in the yard. But, most of the time it took a shout from Grumpy, as in “Get out of that tree! NOW” that got his butt inside the door.

Sometimes there’d be as many as five of these little rascals and rascalettes stationed at various levels in the tree. It put me in mind to describe them as a giggling gaggle of “Swiss Family Robinson” wannabees.

Home of the Swiss Family Robinson wannabees!

Home of the Swiss Family Robinson wannabees!

Never mind the tree forts the little lads were always building in the yard. This went fairly well until these little lumberjacks decided to cut down a neighbors tree. It seems as if that tree was blocking their vision or something to that effect. Those tree-felling urchins were a mere six years old and they used my saw.

And then, as a teen there was the extreme sport period featured here on a video of Coin, Juice and JJ’s Adventures taken at the Wilson Retreat. Watch this video at your own peril.

VIDEO: CLIFF JUMPERS – click this link http://youtu.be/GREKYqcnKB4

The Cliff Jumpers of Muskoka. Coin, Juice and the Phenom.

The Cliff Jumpers of Muskoka. Coin, Juice and the Phenom.

THE ALBERTAN: Being the oldest of the Grumpy crew, memories of the Albertan as a baby-climber are somewhat foggy. ( After all, the Albertan is 33 now!) But, Grumpy will tell you this, “The Albertan hates flying, does not like climbing long ladders and abhors heights of any magnitude with a passion!”

We do remember the Cow Tipping, the tower swinging, the sojourns in the GMC Safari van, the disappearing Christmas lights and any number of his teenage adventures. But, not once did we worry about the lad getting much higher (not that kind of higher) than a few feet off the ground.

Grumpy guesses that’s why he took up mountain climbing when he moved to Alberta. You got that right – FREAKING MOUNTAIN CLIMBING! – In the Rocky Mountains of Alberta. Thousands of feet of altitude between you and a fall to a sudden death, defines the fact that gravity is your worst and only enemy.

Oh, my!

This is what the first born had to say to the Grumps.

“Dad, it doesn’t seem so bad because you are so high it just seems – like UNREAL!”

And, “Sometimes I close my eyes or I don’t look down!”

Another mountain scaled by The Albertan.

Another mountain scaled by The Albertan.

The boy has hiked, climbed, and scrambled to the summit of many peaks in and around Kananaskis. He has taken many photos from dizzying heights that upon viewing them, in turn, gives Grumpy a severe case of vertigo.

The Albertan has even dragged his wife along on these treks. He proposed to her on one of those mountain tops. They got married on a ridge way up in the mountains.

Yee Haw – Rocky Mountain High!

The Good Wife and Grumpy sent the Albertan a canister of Bear Spray to protect him and her from the wildlife, such as cougars and grizzly bears. There was nothing we could do to protect him or her from free falls, however.

Ruby-Roo: Now, this is the nickname of our little grandbaby who just happens to be the son of our daughter, the Smurf. She would be the one who escaped from her playpen on a regular basis. Wouldn’t you know that Ruby-Roo has inherited the Grumpy Clan’s climbing gene, too?

Being a father of 3 climbers and a judicious grandfather, I did suggest this to my daughter, “You’d better buy that boy some pillows or a parachute!”

Here’s a picture and a video link you can view in order that you can appreciate firsthand the effects of the climbing gene on our little ones. This IS our NEXT GENERATION. We’re sort of like the Flying Wallenda’s, except we’re all afraid of flying.

If you look closely you might just see a hint of a prehensile tail sticking out of that diaper!

VIDEO IS HERE: click this link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sSgFYtRqvjI



Undeniably, these events have made the touch of gray Grumpy once had transform into the white snow capped peaks of any one of the Albertan’s conquered mountains.

And, just so you know, no matter what Grumpy has said here, and no matter what you think (We don’t really care) each and every one of Grumpy’s spawn remains stepnophobiacs of the first kind; this, despite the fact that all of them have experienced the effects of the “climbing gene”, at one time or another.

You can take that to the bank, folks.

(Stepnophobia – look it up – it really defines us)



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