Monday, July 13, 2009
Fleeting memories of toddlers
As I adjust to my progressive lenses, I keep returning to the store for minor tweaks. The other day as I left the store yet again, I bore witness to the classic "toddler wanting to walk unassisted to the car in busy parking lot hissy fit." This oldie but goodie tantrum is just so unbelievably funny and classic. I don't imagine there's a parent in the U.S. who hasn't had this wrangle with his/her toddler at some point.
What is it about new walkers and talkers that they insist on freedom in the most precarious of places? I think they do this around bodies of water as well. Is it a rite of passage? Is it an evolutionary test? If your parents are too stupid not to hold your hand, well, maybe it's just better to get it over with because surely their neglect will lead to your early demise anyway. I could hear the mama impatiently explaining why running to the car without holding an adult's hand was prohibited and briefly giving him a choice between two safe alternatives, obviously rejected, before hauling him kicking and screaming to the car on her hip. I remember those toddler negotiations, in my case fairly mild by some stroke of luck as I was blessed with easy going and handholding children. But I think that might have been a whim of nature and that most kids are not in a consensus building mood for about two years of their lives. And so adults grab at little wrists and hands and torsos if necessary, squirming and screaming, and we insist on safe choices, although really we're fairly irritated that we even have to explain ourselves to the a 3 year old ready to bolt bowleggedly for the car at full speed upon exiting any retail establishment.
My protective self is at red alert today. A sick cat, probably sicker than is compatible with long life. Launching a kid traveling tomorrow to Europe with a tour group. I am unsettled because these are feelings of concern not easily fixable by grabbing a tiny hand or wrist. I think about how life always felt a little dodgy when the kids were little. Danger everywhere, constant sickness, a steady state of adrenaline coursing through my veins as I got all little mammals in my sights safely where they needed to be day in and day out. Life has settled down quite a bit since then, and so when I am having one of these high alert days, it feels foreign and I realize I'm getting too old for toddlers and sick pets.