By: Julie Gamberg
Having a toddler is like hanging out with a friend who is super high. When you’re not. I actually have a lot of experience with this. I don’t do drugs and rarely drink, but I do have friends who partake in either or both with great frequency and many times I have found myself with a group of revelers in various states of extreme inebriation and general tripped-outedness while I’m stone cold sober. I know to most folks this sounds like the party equivalent of going to the dentist’s office for a few extractions. But I’ve actually had a lot of fun, and some creative and freeing moments being around others who are acting as wild, entertaining, sometimes-annoying and as totally out there as… well … a toddler.
First of all, when others diminish their inhibitions, it doesn’t really seem fitting to hold onto yours. So if everyone is jumping up and doing Karaoke … well there you are too. This is the same as being with a toddler. I have found myself in line for coffee at my extremely hip local café (celebrity sighting of this week: Tilda Swinton) with my extremely heavy toddler in a carrier, bopping along to the ultra cool indie music that we were meant to studiously ignore, while waxing enthusiastic about the “doggggeee” who goes “woof-woof” and referring to everyone in line as our “Friends!” while blowing them air kisses. It’s now clear why ravers and small children adorn themselves with essentially, the exact same things. My toddler is the only one genuinely without inhibition, but for the purposes of being able to enjoy ourselves together, I’m there too.
When you’re with a toddler, a simple item, or moment, can become the subject of tripped-out awe. A reflection in aluminum foil, the splash of a puddle stomp, a squirrel eating, a helicopter overhead –all of these can be moments of amazement. And not just ordinary amazement, but the kind we only ever see in the adult world when someone is really, really high. My toddler will literally look at a dog with say, a cone around its neck, and proclaim, “Wowwwww!” while turning around to follow it. This being-taken-with and enamored-of ordinary objects can be extraordinarily frustrating when we are trying to get somewhere or do something, just as it can be incredibly frustrating to try to have a serious conversation with a stoned person. It can also be a delight. I am constantly forced to slow down a thousand-fold. And even though I don’t honestly always see the “wow-ness” in the things she seems them in, I am inspired by the energy of watching someone be able to be so wowed.
Lately my toddler has been really into putting on my articles of clothing. She gets into all manner of drawers and boxes and she finds stashes I’d completely forgotten about, like my colorful stretchy winter gloves. She will now often walk around with one glove on her hand, Michael Jackson style. She then not only prances around with her one glove, but also turns it over and over in a kind of wonder, very reminiscent of Beyoncé turning her gloved hand back and forth in the video for “Put a Ring On It,” only if Beyoncé had an amazed, stoner look on her face. My daughter is also very excited about belts lately and likes to not only point out belts on myself and on others, but she also likes to say “Hiyyyyyy” to them with excitement so infectious and robust that I feel I should greet my belt as well. Again, perfectly acceptable club behavior. When I’m with my toddler, I do best when I just go with the general stoned-ness of things. These days, she does have me saying “Hello” to inanimate objects too, and waxing enthusiastic at the sight of the things like the garbage truck. “Look,” I’ll say, “Garbage Truck! Hiyyyy garbage truck, hi! Kisses to the garbage truck!!! Mmmwahh!! Mmmwahh!! Yay, garbage truck, yay!!”
[Photo Credit: limaoscarjuliet]