The Escape Artist

When Jack was three years old, he would routinely appear in the morning out of his room to finish off sleeping somewhere other than his crib. How Mister Sneaky got out was a mystery. We were perplexed that a child born with two short legs could get past the crib walls that were nearly as high as he was tall.

Then one day he showed me how.

I had changed his diaper and put him down in the crib for a minute to move something in his room. Bam! He was out. I watched in amazement as he muscled himself up over the side and swung his legs over the edge. Then with steady muscle control he gently lowered himself down the crib wall. Nobody had taught him this trick. It was so cool to watch that I asked him to do it again. This video is the result, taken with my Cingular 2125 cameraphone.

I recall that watching him then had a lot of visual impact on me.

Jack has incredible upper body strength. He can move, climb, and throw himself around like nobody I know. His strength tests at birth were off-the-charts high. He was holding his head up at two days old. He was doing chin ups at three years old. He started climbing rocks and equipment at the playground just a couple months after this video was shot. When he is not wearing his prosthetic left leg (which weighs him down a bit), he can balance on his hands and hold his body straight out level.

Jack walks around the house on his hands as frequently as I drink coffee.

It has been really cool to watch how nature compensated, giving him a strong torso and arms to make up for the birth defect that resulted in a right leg that is 2/3rds regular length, and a left leg literally half the size of standard. But despite this difference from other kids, he learns to do things “The Jack Way” – since no one else is built like him. Disability hasn’t stopped this guy. He doesn’t know differently to let it. He just does what he needs to do.

So in the end, his escape from the crib those mornings in 2009 might be a testament to his skill at escaping what some might consider a disability. The video is proof enough that – in our house – we only see ability instead.

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