There’s always a trapin a typical Dutch house. Not just one, but at least two flights of them.
One would lead to the bedrooms, and the other from the bedrooms to the attic. They are steep, almost vertical and narrow on the sides.
For added element of adventure to gauge if you can put your Ninja-like skills to good use in case you are bored to death at home and looking for cheap thrills, the trap would likely be thrown in with a curve at midway accompanied by planks that are just a little too small for big feet and with gaps in between.
It is no wonder that the Dutch word for stairs is trap (Trappen for plural). It’s an apt description. They can be terrifying, intimidating and sometimes treacherous; not meant for mere mortals.
Welcome to a Dutch home!
Those are them in our home. We go up and down these stairs on a daily basis a hundred times a day. How I have not heard of anyone breaking their necks in their own home here is a mystery. These stairs give a good work-out but can be scary one. Especially when you have 2 young kids running around with no sense of danger whatsoever.
That means, I get to nag a hundred times a day telling both Spud and Squirt to always be careful, to always hold the side railing instead of hanging on to the side-rail like a Spiderman and to never, ever run or try to out-run each other while they go up or down the stairs.
Am I paranoid? Of course I am! Especially since these monkeys of ours choose to show-off their Ninja-like skills of being able to hang and swing on the rail using both hands while on the stairs instead of holding the side rail for support like other normal people do. It is accident waiting to happen.
At the same time, I realise that I have to have faith in them to take the stairs on their own as well every other time because well, it’s just something we (I) have to get used to.
Then it happened.
Both kids were with me helping out with the laundry at the attic one morning and it was all pleasant. Midway into it, Squirt needed to pee and took off to get to the bathroom on the 2nd floor.
On his way up and from the corner where I was sitting less than a meter away with my back against him, I saw, from the corner of my eye that he was already nearly close to the top, merely 3-4 steps away. That was when my biggest fear materialised.
I heardhim slipped and I practically jumped up that instant. Like a lightning, I bolted towards the stairs immediately and ran down the steep steps towards him while screaming out his name in horror.
All I could see was a glimpse of the top of his head as he tumbled all the way to the bottom. My heart was beating at a thousand miles per second; not knowing what condition I’d find him at the foot of the stairs. It was quite a height to fall from and I had not seen how he slipped.
I was scared. Really scared.
He cried his biggest cry when he landed on his bum. He had also hit the back of his head on the planks along the way.
But the cry was music to my ears. It brought a little relief as that, to me, meant that he was going to be OK. I chided myself for not going with him to the bathroom. When it all happened, I just was not quick enough to get to him and there was nothing I could have done to prevent him from tumbling.
I was shaken and shaking inside as I inspected him for potential injuries and then held him for as tight and as long as I could. He cried hard for a long while more and the big relief came when he was himself again within the hour after such a scary fall.
Once again, Squirt has gallantly survived another hard knock on the head, this time from tumbling down the trapand sustaining no injuries. Perhaps, that was just his initiation rite of passage.
Interestingly, that was the last since I saw Squirt hanging and swinging on the side rail when descending or ascending the trap. He is now doing the stairs proper like any normal human being would without showing off his Ninja-Spiderman capabilities.
Lesson learnt for him, I’m sure. Plus I get to repeat the infamous parent-mantra: “I bloody told you so!”