Tuesday, October 23, 2007

...but he knows what he likes....

Because Tricky is the child of feckless artistes I dragged him to an exhibition opening at the Country Town Art Gallery.

This wasn’t about me being thoughtless towards other spectators, or even just me being a pretentious middle class left leaning wanker, because the exhibition in question was all about young people and there were indeed other children present.

Tricky was not at a height to truly appreciate the artwork but he was the exact height to appreciate the large expanse of polished wood floor and man didn’t he and his soft shoes go to town?

As the speeches began, he started his patented zig-zag dash through the crowd and I followed in his wake with a little smile playing upon my face. It was a smile I hoped would be interpreted as “relaxed” or “amused” or even “coping, just”, but really it was to hide the dismay I felt upon spotting one of those Other Children sitting calmly on their mother’s lap.

At least I think it was The Mother, it may actually have been one of those automated nannybot things that featured in the movie AI; the ones that looked real and sounded real but maintained complete control and aplomb at all time thus betraying their robotic interiors. In fact the more I thought about it, as Tricky dashed and squealed and drooled and had to be removed from the room, the more obvious it became that the so called "child" was also one of those robots and, obviously for the duration of the speeches (which seemed to go on and on), the batteries had been removed.

I mean, yes, the childbot seemed slightly older than Tricky but surely that wasn’t the reason for its almost eerie calm? And the other thing was, and I was certain this would have NO EFFECT WHATSOEVER, was that the child was a (ahem) girl. It would be too much of a cliché I thought, as I retrieved Tricky from the temptingly laden buffet table and removed five slices of salami from his firmly clenched fist, to think that gender can determine behaviour. Not like, say, Ritalin or an electric cattle prod. The very notion seemed wrong. And horribly unfair.

As if to add his emphatic support, Tricky let out the War Cry Of The Screaming Tomato and I hastily strapped him back into his stroller and began the frantic to and fro rocking of the Parent With Toddler In Public or else the clinically insane.
Sympathetic ex-toddler mothers behind the buffet table handed me a glass of wine.
"Have you seen that other toddler in there?" I asked them over Tricky’s wails. "Have you seen how beautifully she’s sitting on her mother’s lap?" They nodded kindly and pressed another glass into my hand.

As I gratefully slugged it back, a perfumed air wafted about me and I looked up to see The Mother. In her arms was the aforementioned Other Toddler, resplendent in her pale pink frock and boing boing ringlets. And, I was saddened to see, absolutely no indication of batteries at all. We did the ubiquitous Mothers Club smile and I congratulated The Mother on her child’s behaviour. “How old is she?” I asked jovially, hoping she might say “21 but her dad was very short.”
“She’s 18 months,” The Mother sipped at her glass.
“Oh great,” I laughed, gaily. “That means my toddler will be like that in a few months!”
The Mother winced slightly.“I’m... not sure,” she said. “Mine's always been like this, very focused, very interested... She likes to sit and concentrate on things like Art.” I was going to tell her how wonderful that sounded but a loud choking noise claimed my full attention and the moment was mercifully lost.
It seems Tricky had been concentrating too, on stuffing his fingers down his throat and making himself gag.


Suz said...

Mine are 19 months and whirling dervishes. They would have also been lured by the polished wood floor.

Krissy said...

Allow me to translate:

"She's always been very focused"

Translates to:

"She's never been a normal kid and it worries me"

Tricky is wonderfully, delighfully, tomatoey normal. Go Tricky!

Anonymous said...

Anytime I see a perfectly behaved toddler, I think to myself "Benadryl".

LL said...

I don't think it's a boy/girl thing... Lil'mooey is very ...err... excitable at certain grown-up-ish type events. That other child sounds really unusual.

granny p said...

What we want is Tricky most of the time and very occasionally the perfect toddler - on demand of course. Some hope. Anyway how could he have resisted that perfect floor, let alone the salami...

'kmum said...

Wow, you are given wine???? The most I have received when Little Man is having a toddler moment is a weak smile.

pixi said...

I second that gag. Blech!

T said...

Dumbot more like. Tricky's soul sister over here's latest adventure is climbing 20 foot ladders. Sure spirited children are heart attacks now - but they'll be so much more interesting than 'focused' children later on.

Trevor said...

Er...it is a girl thing too, though.

Watching three of them grow up at the same time allows (on a quiet day) whole seconds of free-time for contemplation about how different they all are.

It's not just that they have different personalities. Ava is so completely different - in a girly way - from her brothers that there is an obvious boy/girl thing going on.

This is not to say that Ava will sit still quietly - but there's a least a greater chance that she might!