Saturday, September 02, 2006

I Don't Think You Could Train a Child to Behave This Way If You Tried

Q and I went to the local farmer's market, and after browsing all the booths and judiciously sampling the fruit offerings, we decided on an ear of roasted corn. The boy is a big fan of corn, and it seemed like a suitable reward for being so well-behaved on our previous outing to the park and now the market.

An elderly man moved over on his bench so that we could have one side, and I sat down gingerly, holding the corn in one hand and Q's hand in the other. He looked suspiciously at the man and clung to my leg. If you told me when I was pregnant that one day I would be able to haul a squirming twenty-five pound child onto my lap with one arm and have him land right side up and comfortable while simultaneously balancing purse, camera, and lunch, I would have laughed at you.

I tried taking a bite of the corn, leaning to one side around Q. Too hot. "We'll have to wait, honey." He was oddly patient, just sitting in my lap. As we waited, the man began making conversation.

"Did you know this used to be a theater?" he said, pointing to the restaurant we were facing. I did actually, since I'd been inside once and noticed the strangely sloping floor. He continued to say that there was only one store left from the old days. Another man in an electric wheelchair rolled up to join a reminiscence about the community and condemnation of some wasteful new building plans.

The corn had cooled enough by this time that I was taking regular bites alternating with offering the ear to Q. He wasn't having any of it. Not hungry? Are you sure?

The man on the bench eyed Q and said, "You've trained him well. Don't trust strangers." I peered under the little guy's hat, and sure enough, he was still warily observing our neighbor. We chatted a little longer, and then I told the gentlemen that I wished them a good day.

"What gentlemen?" they chortled as we pattered off.

About fifteen feet away, I crouched down and offered Q a last chance at the remaining third of the corn. He pounced on it. Munch-chew munch-chew. I was doing my best to rotate the ear to keep up. "Here, you missed a spot!"

I think that while we were on the bench, he was in "alert mode" and unwilling to disturb his concentration by eating while we had unvouched-for company. Paranoia – I guess some traits do get passed down through the generations.

Yum. Beard o' Corn.


Bob said...

Those are great photos.
What a kid, his alertness trumped his hunger.

lara said...

ha! this is funny to me, because i was not like that at all. in my family, we still refer to me as "the child who knew no strangers." i was the child who took a class on how not to talk to strangers and, upon graduating said class, promptly walked up to the first person i saw on the street, showed her my certificate, and said, "look! i learned not to talk to strangers!"

good job keeping him suspicious, M. :-P

tt said...

I just love thoses pictures. He looks so content in the 2nd picture.

Jenny said...

I love it! He's just on guard to protect his mommy.

Also, that corn is mutant-like. Seriously...have you ever seen such pointy corn?

lara said...

hm, jenny's right, the corn is awfully pointy. he sort of looks like he's preparing to use it as a weapon in that last picture.

"back off, man - i've got corn here and i'm not afraid to use it!"

p.s. is it against all sorts of blogging etiquette for me to post TWO comments in one post? :-P

Mayberry said...

Love those pictures--he is SO cute.

Lady M said...

Jenny and Kari - Now that you mention it, that corn does look kind of threatening!

We're not doing anything to teach him to be suspicious. Must be in the genes. I don't think it's possible to teach someone to be quite as friendly as you were as a kid either! That's just natural. :)

Mamacita Tina said...

Great job Q! Keep it up!

Love the pictures!