I haven’t written many ranty posts recently. I think this is probably because Ebony is a bit older, so she no longer looks like sweet, touchable, grabbable pollen to the swarms of old people buzzing over to give their unsolicited advice, opinions and germs.
I think people like tiny babies because they can’t make you feel unwanted. New babies are basically indifferent to everything. As long as they have milk and they aren’t sat in a nappy of festering turd, they’re pretty much happy. An old person can look across at a baby, and head over to say hi safe in the knowledge that, should any crying occur, it would likely be a lack of milk or bodily functions causing the problem.
Once a baby becomes a toddler, they are basically a person. An easily frustrated person with a stumbly, swaying walk, who teeters dangerously close to a complete breakdown at all times. Toddlers are basically just very small drunk adults. And old people know that, so they stay clear.
However, there are always some strangers who cannot override their urge to TOUCH THE LITTLE PERSON. And today was no exception. After a morning of hardcore swinging, sliding, gate closing, gate opening, climbing and raising throwing, I took my (now exhausted) toddler to the pub (my park) for lunch. As we entered, a stooped figure sat huddled at the bar lifted her head to watch us. Her glazed eyes followed us as we walked across the room. She was clearly hungry for some infant interaction, and even as we were metres away, I could see her hands twitching to reach out and TOUCH THE BABY.
“How old is she? Is she your only one?” she asked in the way that only a lunchtime drunk could. “When are you having another?”
Why is that a socially acceptable question? I must get asked that question about ten times a week at the moment. Every single person in the world seems to be waiting with baited breath for me to reproduce again. I feel a bit like a minor celebrity trying to promote my latest work - a film perhaps - but all the bastard press keep asking me about is my reproductive organs. “WHEN WILL YOU BE USING THEM AGAIN?” the whole world screams in unison as I run around after a seventeen month old toddler who is eating crayons while hitting the TV with a shoe and weeing on the floor.
Unable to fight the urge any longer, the drunk woman reached out and grabbed Ebony’s hand. “Aaaaaah, there’s just something about that age where they LOVE grabbing onto your hand, in’t they?” said the woman, desperately trying to cover the fact that she was in fact the weird hand grabber.
Ebony, now able to differentiate between normal and complete and utter weirdo, pulled a disgusted face before turning to me, rolling her eyes, and turning back to the woman with a look of contempt as she pulled her hand from the woman’s grubby embrace.
I have to say, I’ve never been more proud of her.