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  • Of Toddlers and Tornados

    May 16, 2006

    You know how in a tornado, every thing in its path gets sucked up into the vortex? All kinds of unrelated things, little bits and pieces and parts of things from here and there, all mixing and swirling around together? And then without warning, the tornado releases it load and this odd collection of parts are plopped down all together in some unlikely place like an abstract sculpture? Well, as near as I can figure, that’s how the mind of a two-year-old works.

    Last February, we went to the Ft. Worth Rodeo. You might think he would remember the itty bitty horses pulling itty bitty chuck wagons or the trick riders or even the clowns popping out of barrels. But what he remembers is the cowboy that was bucked off his horse into the dirt and taken away on a stretcher.

    Not too long after that, I was at Wal-Mart, and in a weak and nostalgic moment, I bought Sean a doctor’s kit. I always wanted one as a kid and never had one. Actually, I wanted the nurses kit with the little cape and the funky little hat that looks like something that french fries are served in. In those those days doctor was not a career option for people like me, meaning girls.

    Anyway, we have had tremendous fun with that little doctor’s kit. At least several times a day, Sean is “thrown” from his horse and requires medical assistance. “Mommy! I fall off my horse in the doot!” he’ll call to me from the den. I’ll throw down my dishtowel and grab the doctor kit and run into the den where I find him sprawled out in some dramatic position. I scoop him up and rush him to the sofa hospital with the theme from ER playing in my head. After a thorough examination I prescribe him two M&M’s and warn him away from loose horses and fast women. Or fast horses and loose women. Or horsey women. Or all of the above.

    So last night, we are sitting side by side in the rocking chair in his room reading from a collection of children’s Bible stories and we get to one where Jesus is healing a lame man. The illustration shows Jesus kneeling over the man who is lying on the ground. And that’s when the tornado stalls out and drops an abstract sculpture in my lap. “Dat man fall off his horse! “Sean observes in a worried tone and then adds, “Jesus no have a doctor kit!” And then finally, “Dat man gonna need M&Ms .”

    And like a tornado, the mind of a toddler is frightening and fascinating, all at the same time.

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