Just STOP!

In the middle of Monument Valley, on our vacation, the kids were acting … well, like kids. It was 115 degrees and the plan was to see Four Corners, Goosenecks State Park and Monument Valley – all in one day.

Dylan, who spins like a human top when he’s bored, had been in the car with very few breaks for nearly five hours. Monument Valley is a drive-through park, so he wasn’t able to release any of that energy. The human top was stuck in “vibrate” mode.

For the uninitiated, the vibrate mode of a human top sounds something like this:  Blubbedy blub blub blub!  Waaa woooo waaaa miggledy snip!

Because Dylan is musically gifted, though, sometimes he put this nonsense to music — loud, somewhat screechy music. And since there is no way to stop this unless one allows the human top to actually spin, we were all a bit cranky.

Except Shane, who is also a kid and thinks Dylan can do no wrong.

“Dylan!” a parent would shriek every four minutes. “Stop making those noises!”

Wild snickering would emanate from the back seat.

“Shane, stop laughing. Don’t encourage him!”

“That wasn’t me; it was Dylan!”

“It was Shane, too! Besides, what’s wrong with laughing? I thought you wanted us to be happy!” Dylan is always thinking abstractly and negotiating. Always.

“Happy, yes,” a parent would respond. “Totally insane is another thing entirely!”

“Bigglety bop balula-looooola!”



“Dylan, seriously! Just STOP!”

“Stop the lop? Stop the lop, boppity bop….”

More wild snickering.

“Stop everything! Just for one minute, please!”

Suddenly, I spied something I had not seen before in Monument Valley: a guy on top of a rock. It was a huge rock, with four sleek, straight sides and no footholds. It was a rock that no sane human being would attempt to climb.

“Look guys!” I pointed to the guy on the rock. Both kids became silent. The rock climber was just about to jump down, so we pulled up next to him and I rolled down my window.

“I just want to know if it was hard!” I yelled to him. I forgot that nearly every tourist we’d met was from Europe.

The guy – who was about 20 – said in stilted (but very nice) English, “It is very difficult!”

Shane said, “I want to do it!” So we went to the rock and he tried – and tried – and tried. But he was way too short and could only climb up a tiny bit before he gave up.

The European guy said, “I could not do this two years ago, and now I can. Maybe he can in two years.” We all shrugged. Then the European and his family drove away.

Then Dylan jumped out of the car. He raced to the boulder, climbed almost to the top, then threw his leg over the top and sat up.

“You did it!” we all said in amazement. Dylan was only 14. The European had already said he couldn’t do it two years ago – and now Dylan had proven that it could be done.

After Dylan got down, Shane tried again. This time, with a few pushes, Shane got to the top, too. We took pictures galore of both boys, then got back into the car.

Dylan was like a new person – an adult person. He was calm and centered and, for the rest of the day, much more pleasant.

To stop the human top from spinning, we just had to let him climb a rock.

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