Archive for the ‘independence’ Category

Don’t do that.   Stop it.  Don’t touch.  No, no.  Stop.  Don’t.  Please stop.  Hurry up.  I said, please don’t do that.

Imagine that the world is approximately three million times more interesting than it even is now.  You’re fascinated by everything you see, but you have a loudspeaker attached to your shoulder saying don’t touch don’t touch don’t touch all day long.  Sometimes I feel like Martin and Chris must feel like that sometimes.

I detest hearing the don’t-touch-stop-it-put-that-down stuff coming out of my mouth.  As much as it has got to be said sometimes, I try to have a Shut-Up Day once in a while to keep the unnecessary ones from becoming a habit.  If I feel a don’t-touch-it coming on, and if I don’t have a damned good reason for it, I shut up.

If it’s not about safety or rudeness or another valid concern, why can’t he touch it?  Why quell the instinct Martin had the other day to explore every button and attachment on the vacuum cleaner, then use them for magic wands, then catch crocodiles with them.  So it’s a mess–big deal.  When Chris squeals with shock at seeing an ant with a crumb on the sidewalk, do I really need to rush him past it to get to the grocery store quicker?

But sometimes I’m late, or tired, or, worst of all, just too accustomed to the wonder and magic they see everywhere.  If I feel a twinge of that, it’s time for me to shut up for a while and let them talk to an ant.


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I Finally Left Him

My little baby, my first born; I left him in the care of not-family members in a public place for over an hour. He’s three years old, and I’ve never done this before today; it was high time.

He’s taking one of those kid gym classes, and all of a sudden it’s without parent participation. I had prepared him for the fact that I would be leaving, and when we got there this morning . . . he’s gone, not so much as a good-bye–he’s climbing up something, then leaping over something else, then diving into a tube. OK, so now is when I leave. Here I go. Bye. Or I could stay and watch. But then my little guy starts taking off his shoes and struggling to get out of the stroller, calling: “I jump now! I jump now!” He knows there’s a trampoline over there; he won’t stop until he’s on it. OK, now I’m leaving. As I’m backing the stroller out of the door, the little guy is hanging onto the frame, screaming, “Broooooother! Brooooooother!” I have wrench his little hands from the doorway to get him outside. I could easily sit down next to him and scream, “Son! Son!” but I don’t. Not out loud, anyway.

We walk to the bagel place, but this usually bubbly, happy little boy keeps dolefully crying, “Broooooooother!” so I pack it up and we go. Now we’re walking along the shops near the gym. In my head, I’m calculating the odds of someone rushing in off the street and grabbing a kid right out of the gym class and running away. Not huge odds, but really, if there’s even a slim chance, shouldn’t I keep watch? I stroll by, and peek through the window. He’s still in there. I can see him tearing around in a circle with the other kids. Now I’m feeling braver; I’m ready for the next step. I’m going to get into the car and drive around the parking lot. I do, but it’s a confusing parking lot, and I end up on the street. I can do it. I’m just going to drive until it’s time to get him.

But then I see an ambulance. Even though it’s headed in a different direction, it turns my stomach. And I realize, with an actual start–like, I really jumped a little–that the gym people did not mention what they do about alternate people picking him up. Oh, god, that means anyone could just walk in there with an elaborate story and take him. I’m having a little trouble breathing at this point, but a car accident would make things so much worse, so I focus. I manage to get back to the gym building. He’s still in there. I almost can’t believe it. I abandon all pretense and park right in front of the door until class is over.  Next week’s assignment:  leave the premises entirely for the whole hour.

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