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Am I getting old or is it just the kid?

After 14 months of being a father, I now know what causes the body aches, gray hair and “senior moments” that I used to think were all a part of the normal aging process.

I used to hear other friends complain about such maladies and think I had a few more years ahead of me before I got to that point. After chasing my son around the house, rescuing him from the top of the dining room table and keeping him from bronco riding the cat through the house, I know first hand what quickens the aging process — children.

Tending to my son, who seems to have a endless reserve of energy, requires total attention. Now that Gibson is in the climbing stage, a brief lapse in concentration can result in having to rescue him from the top of our bookshelves.

I learned this first hand one Saturday morning when I decided I could take a rest on the couch while Gibson played on the floor with his toys.

Glad to lay down for just a moment, I closed my eyes for just a second, I thought. But when I opened them back up, I awakened to a blanket of shredded newspaper over the entire living room floor. It looked like a winter wonderland. Obviously that little shut-eye lasted longer than I thought.

It was another sign that I am too old for this parenting thing.

This was further confirmed a few weeks ago by a series of mysteriously missing household objects. Our house had become a miniature Bermuda Triangle. Small items like a camera battery were missing.

Though I’m not a neat-nik I do usually manage to find such things when I need them. This time, though, the missing items were really missing.

But when a cell phone charger belonging to my wife, who is much less likely than I am to misplace things, suddenly came up missing, I thought something was up.

It had to be the boy … but he wasn’t talking.

A few weeks later, I happened to be sitting on the bed reading e-mails and the online newspaper when I quickly glanced across the room to see Gibson playing with my wife’s set of keys he had pulled from her bag.

I didn’t think much of it until 30 minutes later my wife asked, “Have you seen my keys.”

“Yes,” I replied. “Gibson had them in the hallway.”

For the next hour we searched the entire house for those set of keys.

We searched in the normal places — under the beds and in the closets.

We searched in the unusual places — in the trash cans, in the bathtubs and in the toilets.

Still no keys were to be found.

Thankfully, my wife had an extra set of car keys. But the mailbox keys, house keys and others were suddenly gone.

For nearly two days we looked, until Gibson followed my wife into the bathroom.

With a quick open of the vanity cabinet and a tug on one the storage drawers, Gibson pulled out the keys like a magician pulling out a rabbit from a hat.

“We are not losing our minds, we just have a child who is losing it for us,” I said to my wife.

Now if he can make that cell phone charger appear.

Ben Hillyer is the Web editor of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3540 or by e-mail at ben.hillyer@natchezdemocrat.com.

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