A 3-year old at the playground flipped me the bird yesterday.
We were playing — I’m pretty sure she was just showing me something (a scratch? nail polish?) on her middle finger, but flipping me off was such a fluid gesture that I wonder if some uncle hasn’t been “teaching” her to be naughty. Her parents will be so grateful.
She was just one of a half-dozen children that I played with that day — again with the Pied Piper thing. At one point, I was alone in watching three kids (Boo, who’s 18 months, a new friend who’s 20 months, and Buddy Boy, who’s almost 3 years) sitting around a table at an outdoor cafe. We were near enough to the street that if they’d decided to bolt off, I wouldn’t have been able to keep them safe through simple physical restraint — no way to corral three toddlers by just grabbing them!
So I played a game with them — nothing earth-shattering, just naming body parts and making animal noises, but I was engaged, you know? There was no question in the parents’ minds that their kids were safe with me, and I did pretty darn well keeping their attention. Not to be too prideful, but that felt really good — like, professionally, validatingly good. I love being a dad, but it’s nice to remember that I’m a once and future teacher, too.