"Inside voice, please!" Melody Winford looked disapprovingly at her 5-year-old son Elliot. "You'll wake daddy."
"OK," Elliot whispered as he sprinted across the living room, jumped over the fire truck he'd left on the floor, and bounded up the stairs to his room two steps at a time.
"And walk, Elliot, WALK!"
Melody sighed and slumped down in her easy chair. What a workout that kid gave her! They say children his age, especially boys, are full of energy, but Elliot's pep dribbled out his pores. If she had a brick for every time someone said "I wish I had his energy," she could build the Tower of Babel in her back yard. She always told the "Elliot energy seekers" they were welcome to it - as long as they didn't give it back to him.
Now there was humor with a slice of truth in it. Melody loved her son more than she could ever express, but why did he have to be so high-strung, so loud, so hyper? If only he didn't fiddle nonstop, wasn't in perpetual motion 24/7, wasn't...
"Melody!" her husband Greg said groggily from the bedroom. "Is everything all right?"
"Checking," she answered, whispering a short prayer under her breath, as she sprinted up the stairs toward Elliot's room.
She looked into Elliot's bedroom to find at least five dozen books sprawled about the floor, his bookcase flat on the ground. Elliot - either oblivious to what had happened, or having dismissed it seconds ago - was sitting on his beanbag chair in the corner, reading, of all things, Go, Dog, Go.
Spouting out a quick "thank you, Lord," Melody walked through the book minefield and put the bookcase back in place, making a mental note to have Greg come up and anchor it to the wall later that day.
"Everything's fine, Greg," she shouted down the stairs, "Go back to sleep, dear."
As she started putting the books back, Elliot looked up from his reading.
"It's OK, honey. You just need to be careful."
"I know," he said as he began picking up the books and helping put them back on the shelves.
"Elliot! Greg! Dinner!"
Elliot bounced (literally) out of his room and down the hallway to the top of the stairs.
"Elliot the kangaroo is ready for dinner," the boy giggled. "Boing, boing, b-"
A series of bumps, thumps and screams came from Elliot's direction. The older Winfords ran for the stairs, where they found Elliot sprawled across the landing, his arms and legs every which way.
"I'll call 911," Greg said breathlessly as he sprinted for the phone.
"Elliot, are you OK, honey?" Melody asked, as she cradled her son's head in her lap.
"I didn't walk, mommy."
"Wow, TWO casts!" Elliot looked down with pride at his wrapped up left lower leg and right lower arm. "Too cool!"
As Greg wheeled him down the hospital corridor in his wheelchair, Elliot asked everyone who passed by to sign his casts. Though stopping every three feet was getting old, Greg and Melody were glad the fall hadn't broken their son's spirit, and resigned to humoring him.
"My! What happened to you, young man?" a woman with salt and pepper hair and a matronly look asked.
"I didn't listen to mommy when she told me to walk," he said sheepishly. "Wanna sign my cast?"
She tittered, "Certainly. What is your name, young man?"
"Elliot. E-L-L-I-O-T. What's your name?
"Mrs. Grayson," the woman said.
"Do you listen to your mommy, Mrs. Grayson? You should, you know."
"Yes, Elliot, in fact, I do. Even when I don't want to, I try to do just what my mother told me," Mrs. Grayson replied.
"Now Elliot, it was delightful talking with you, and I hope you feel better soon, but I have an appointment to get to, and I need to run."
"Thank you! But-Mrs. Grayson?"
"Walk, Mrs. Grayson - WALK!"
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