Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Lessons a 3-year-old teaches you, part 2

Our SUV has child safety locks that have malfunctioned--we can't turn them off. So, if you are in the back seat, someone has to let you out. The girls figured out that they can roll down the window and unlock the door, then let themselves out by lifting the outside handle. I wondered how long it would take for Billy to catch on to this. Yesterday was that day. We had gone to pick up the girls from school and were sitting in the car waiting for the bell to ring. We always turn the car off and roll down the windows. The next thing I knew, I heard a click, Billy yelling, and looked to see the door swinging open and Billy going with it. My first fear was that he would fall face first onto the sidewalk, but he was smart and held on. He started whimpering, "Help me, mama." I fought the urge to laugh and ran around to rescue him. He was hanging from the door, about 6 inches from the ground. I just knew all the other parents were sitting in their cars, nearly wetting themselves over this unexpected entertainment. I scooped him up in my arms and hugged him (he was so scared). He gets angry if you laugh at him, so I tried so hard to be the kind, compassionate mother ("Are you okay? It's okay, baby."), but I will admit that a few giggles did burst unbidden from my lips. I couldn't help it.

A similar incident happened just a couple of weeks ago. He had been leaning out of the car window when his sister Kimmy opened the door, knocking him off balance. He clung to the door and swung there for a brief second before I was able to grab him. Both of these incidents reminded me of my brother when he was little. I was about 7 and my brother would have been about 2. We were moving and mom and dad had rented a U-Haul or some such moving truck. It was huge to us kids. Anyways, being a boy, my brother wanted to ride in the cab of the moving truck. I don't remember who opened the door when we got there, maybe dad, but my brother had just then grabbed the handle and was swung out with the opening door. He said the only thing going through his mind was the words of a John Anderson song, "Just A-Swingin'."

The moral of this story? There are several. If you have a toddler, watch out before you open a car door. If you have a toddler, watch him at all times! You never know what that crazy kid will do! If you can, grow eyes in the back of your head. And if what you are leaning on, suddenly pulls out from under you, hang on tight so you don't fall down.

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