Saturday, June 16, 2007

The Power of Children

  • They obliterate social boundaries, even when their parents are characteristically antisocial. This morning as S-Boogie, Little Dude and I pushed our way toward the back of the crowded bus on our way to the Fremont Solstice Parade, strangers smiled at us just as strangers always do no matter where we go. I consider going anywhere with my children a public service, as the very sight of us seems to make people happy. A young man stood up to offer S-Boogie his seat while a group of parade-goers complimented the sling I carried LD in. I thanked them and helped S-Boogie into her seat. The people around us laughed at everything S-Boogie said, which of course encouraged her to keep speaking. As the surrounding folks felt no qualms about participating in my conversation with my daughter, I felt comfortable interjecting in their conversations to clarify details of the bus route and parade location I'd looked up earlier, which is something I'd usually never do. Then later, when S-Boogie had first decided that she wanted to stand with me and then decided she didn't like trying to stand in a moving bus, the woman in front of us took S-Boogie onto her lap, a favor another woman repeated later on the bus ride home.
  • They provide instant conversational fodder. Once we arrived at the parade and I found myself in another situation where my social awkwardness usually thrives--meeting new friends for the first time--the kids saved the day again. When you have kids there's always something to talk about: their ages, their latest tricks, your hopes and fears for their future. This works particularly well when the other person also has kids or even hopes to one day have kids, which was the case with our new friends today. Of course, it also helped that not only do MoHoHawaii and I have a lot in common to talk about, but both he and his boyfriend are personable and friendly people.
  • When they are having a good time, they make your good time ten times more enjoyable. S-Boogie thought the body-painted bicycling parade forerunners were pretty cool, but she got really excited when the actual parade started and the drums and belly dancers and floats came out. I would have enjoyed the parade anyway, because it's just that kind of hippie artsy cool that I love about Seattle, but watching S-Boogie dance to the drums while LD clapped made it that much better.
  • When they are having a bad time, they make it impossible for you to have a good time. First LD got tired of being outside and restrained to my arms or the sling, and started screaming to let everyone know how he felt. Then S-Boogie's sunscreen worked its way into her eyes and her complaints quickly evolved from a little whining and eye-rubbing to full-blown sobbing and yelling, "My eyes hurt!" After about ten minutes of listening to both of them scream, knowing I could do nothing to solve the problem, I decided it was time to go home.
  • When they are sleeping in the next room, every noise sounds like a child's waking sobs. I am exhausted now after making the trek to Fremont and back with the two of them, and fear having to get up during the night to deal with any lingering effects of the sickness they are, at least in theory, recovered from. I was lucky enough to have them both sleep through the night last night without a peep, but I'm worried my luck won't last and so I tense up with every sound that might be a baby crying or a toddler puking.


Tusk said...

Happy Father's Day Ben--it sounds like you're a great Dad. :)

MoHoHawaii said...

It was a real privilege to introduce you to Hippyville, USA. The kids are adorable, BTW.

Tina said...

I could relate to that blog and Happy Father's Day to you and Sunscreen in your eyes really does HURT!

FlameRetardentMormon said...

This is from my son:

"You got to ride on a bus!? Lucky!"