Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Observations on Toddlers

Standing in the library, she watches as the toddlers and babies, okay, mostly the toddlers, make their way around the space in that funny little way they have.

There's a little girl, with a neat braid, wearing a cute little sweatsuit, attempting to skip. You can just see the kind of girl she's going to be when she grows up. She's going to match her purse to her shoes. She's going to get her hair cut evey six weeks, but for now, she's just going to skip in a way that makes her look she's about to fall over.

There's a little blond boy. His mother brings him into the library each week. She dresses him in the preppiest clothes she can possibly find. Little sweater vests and khaki pants. Topsiders. Topsiders on a four year old! This kid is either going to be grow up to be a Republican, a Protestant or very, very gay. Or maybe he'll rebel and become emo or punk or whatever is popular when he's a teenager.

Then there are the usual rag-a-muffin kids, the ones who look more like her when she was little. Their clothes may or may not match, and not because their parents' don't buy them matching clothing, but because you can see who won the fight of "But it's my FAVORITE shirt" that morning. Their hair is a mess. They run. They yell. They ask "Why?" repeatedly. They are just your average, every day KIDS.

Some might wonder why it's not the babies she notices, but the babies don't turn around and wave as they walk away. The babies don't walk around like little old, angry men. The babies just don't have that certain toddler joie de vivre. The babies are also tucked into their carriers, being held by their parents and still just not quite old enough to ask for crayons at the reference desk.

And it's not the babies that make her feel almost ready to be a mother. It's the toddlers, with their over-abundance of personality that make her look forward to the moment when she brings her own mis-matched three year old into the library for storytime. It's the toddlers that make her curious about who her children will be and excited to meet them, whenever they should see fit to make their appearance.

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