Hello, this is Simon.
My son has discovered a new skill: climbing. He climbs on, over or up anything that he can. He climbs on the coffee table so he can stand up and hit the TV, on his sleeping sister, all over the washing, and over anything that stands between him and where he wants to go. However, the thing that he desires to climb most are the stairs to the second floor.
I can’t blame him for wanting to climb the stairs. He sees everyone else doing it every day, so I guess he has decided to climb on the bandwagon. Also, I think he feels confined to the living room. I can tell he wants to get out and explore. He seems to want to do so many things, but is completely limited in his movement. Some days he gets so frustrated that he starts climbing the walls.
The problem is that the stairs are a very dangerous climb for a one year old because they are made of wood and quite steep. A fall from the top partway up could end in disaster. Fortunately, we have a gate at the bottom of the stairs that we can close to prevent him from attempting the ascent. However, gates only work if they are properly closed, and occasionally we slip up.
He has his eye fixed on the gate permanently and as soon as he sees an opportunity, he makes a break for it, races through the opening in the gate and heads up the stairs with that determined look of “I’ve got a mountain to climb.” on his face. I usually catch him in time, when he is on just the second or third stair. I grab him, carry him back to the living room, and he glares at me as if to say, “Go climb a tree!”
A few times he has made it to the top. Usually when I have been out of the living room briefly. I come back in a to see he is not there and the gate to the stairs is open. My heart jumps and I shoot up the stairs to find him cruising around on the second floor in search of something. I don’t know what treasure awaits him on the second floor that he is so determined to find, but it seems he has already come to realize that, “He that would eat the fruit must climb the tree.”
Since my son now has such a strong desire to climb, I thought it would be a good opportunity to introduce some idioms that use this word.
“climb on the bandwagon”
To “climb on the bandwagon” means to start doing something that a lot of other people are doing, usually because it is popular, fashionable or seems advantageous to do
(e.g. Everyone he knew was getting married, so he decided to jump on the bandwagon and do the same.)
“climbing the walls”
To be “climbing the walls” means to be very frustrated, anxious or annoyed about a situation
(e.g. I came down with COVID-19 last month. I didn’t actually feel so sick, but after one week of being confined to my room, I was climbing the walls.)
For me, this is an easy one to picture.
“he makes a break for it”
To “make a break for it” means to run and escape from something
(e.g. The prisoner made a break for it when, he saw the guard talking on his cell phone.)
You can “make a break for” something, which means to run to that thing in order to escape. In my case, my son was making a break for the stairs.
“got a mountain to climb”
This expression means to have a very difficult task or challenge ahead of you
(e.g. Our team made it through the quarter finals with relative ease. But now, in the semifinals, we’ve got a real mountain to climb.)
“go climb a tree”
This expression means something like “Go away and stop annoying me.” It is something we say to someone that is really bothering us for some reason. Another variation is “Get lost!”
“He that would eat the fruit must climb the tree.”
This is actually a proverb, which means in order enjoy or get the benefits of something, you first have to put in the necessary effort.
See you next month!
Hello! My name is Simon.
I am from New Zealand, and have been living and teaching English in Japan since 1999.
My hobbies include movies, playing the guitar, gardening and hiking.