Apart from the fact I lack the will, there is a very good (two year old) reason I can’t wear stilettos in public. Hmmm. Imagine some chase music. There is a bush turkey running for its life through the bush, closely followed by my shrieking toddler. Behind her is another bush turkey trying to keep up with its mate, closely followed by me. I’m trying to act cool, but sprinting after two birds and a toddler whilst wearing a maternity bra is not hilarious! Yes, any footwear other than flat sandals firmly strapped to my feet or a running shoe just won’t do for me at present.
Yes, my cherub is a runner; a fast one. She is at an adorable age where the world is unfolding for her in miraculous ways and almost everything is a joy to behold. Personal safety is not one of them. She can examine a dew-laden spider web for the longest time and describe it in the most beautiful way. There is innocence in her joy that makes my heart sing.
When she takes off without a moment’s notice though, I sigh on the inside and try to keep from freaking out! The parenting resources tell me this is a phase that will pass. I hope so.
I catch the toddler as the bush turkeys double back to the picnic tables (they are experienced with this situation of course). I crouch down and reconnect with her. She is so excited and instantly starts gesturing and telling me all about the fast bush turkey with the big tail that waggled as he ran. I find myself in a bind. I want to rouse and say “Don’t run away!” I also don’t want to stifle her curiosity and imagination. Really, for how long is she going to marvel at a bush turkey’s waggling bottom? What I do is this:
- Listen to her.
- Hold her and tell her I worry when she runs away and I would be very upset if she got hurt and I wasn’t there.
- Empathise and ask her to please stay with me when we are out.
- Describe simple consequences. For example, repeat offences will mean a swift car trip home!
- After the children are in bed, drink a large glass of wine.
Lately, she has been staying with me more often than not, but those occasions when she runs away make me crazy! The last time a lovely friend held my infant (and reassured me) while I collected my toddler off the ground. She was lying behind a parked car staging a protest… Ahhhh! Who knows what my cherub’s future holds? Maybe she will take part in some bush olympics against the animals. For now, I shall be in training…