Over Christmas, my one year old nephew was at my family home, doing his usual routine of exploring the kitchen under the watchful eye of his parents. He wobbled towards the kitchen door, placed his weight on it and wailed loudly; making it obvious he wished to leave our company. I followed him towards the door.
“Let me teach you something, Jack.”
I picked the little man up in my arms, placed his right hand on the door handle and pulled him downwards. I held onto him, stepped back, knowing well he would not let go of the door handle. The door swung open.
“And that, Jack, is how we open doors.”
Some time later, Jack again wanted to leave the room. He placed both hands on the door. I watched, expecting him to scream for us to open the door. He made no noise. He stood on his tip toes to grab the door handle. He pulled it down. The door popped open. My brother, Dáire, watched in disbelief.
“Did he just open the door? Did you see that? Did you teach him that, Stephen? Fuck ya!”
“This is my Christmas gift to you. Enjoy!” I roared with laughter. “I’ll be in Dublin if you need me.”
Three months on, Jack’s ability to open doors has developed into a recreation activity. If anyone enters the room, Jack is sure to close the door behind them. Jack passes lengthy durations of time opening and closing doors as he pleases. He leaves a room and closes the door behind him, regularly falling on his ass as he does. He toddles down the corridor towards the bedrooms, taking great enjoyment of the seven doors on his journey.
During my last visit home, Jack and his parents arrived at the house around mid afternoon on Saturday following an excursion. I welcomed them at the hall door.
“How was your day?”
“We went to the park to feed the ducks,” answered my brother. “We brought Jack to the playground.”
“Does he like the playground? Did you put him in the swing or bring him down the slide?”
“No, he didn’t really enjoy the playground so much …” Dáire shook his head. “But he did enjoy opening and closing the gate to the playground.”