I took the baby for a walk after school today. He was in this state where all of his toys were “boring” and the only thing that would keep him entertained was tearing down the blinds, and when three repeated attempts at distraction (look, LilRunr! The stuffed puppy says your name! Wouldn’t you rather play with the Kleenex box again? The actual kitty is right there! Go chase her!) and one attempt at relocation (dude is walking like a champion…he can place himself WHEREVER he wants. Terrifyingly awesome.) I gave up and bundled the kid into the jogging stroller.
Kiddo was instantly fascinated. We haven’t been spending enough time outside lately, and a second part of his growing up means that he loves to point to things and say, “da” or “ga.” I imagine that he wants me to label them for him, which may or may not be accurate. Baby translation is not an exact science.
So, we were walking along, LilRunr pointing and saying “da…da…da…ga” and me responding, “maple tree…stop sign…truck…dog…sky,” when I noticed a group of young boys across the street. They caught my attention when one of them yelled, “CAR!” and the entire group dropped to the ground and trained their nerf guns on a passing car.
Oh, boy…or rather, oh, boys. I can tell you from sad experience that a quick path to trouble is to throw/shoot projectiles at a passing car. There was this ONE TIME when I was about their age (6 years old or so) and a bunch of us kids were playing in our yard. It was the weekend of the Maple Leaf Festival, which brings bunches of traffic to my sleepy hometown, so there were lots of cars passing by on the gravel road in front of our rented house. One of my cousins decided it would be a good idea to lob pieces of gravel at the TIRES of the passing cars. Everyone took a turn, and the gravel either landed harmlessly off target or bounced off the tire and onto the ground. At long last, they realized that one person was being a chicken…me. After much cajoling and more than a little peer pressure, I finally picked up a rock…tossed it at a passing car…cheered when it struck the tire…and then watched in horror as it was whipped around the tire and then flung onto the body of the car at great speed.
That “snap” is still imprinted in my memory. The driver of the car went BALLISTIC. He slammed on his brakes, backed his car into the driveway, and emerged screaming. SCREAMING. I thought he was going to kill me. The adults came out of the house and, after hearing the story, my dad offered to let him throw a rock at one of OUR cars. My dad is awesome. Love him. 🙂 I’m not sure what finally appeased the angry man, but I spent a very large portion of that day sitting in a corner…and a long, sleepless night convinced that the “car man” was going to come back to kill me in my sleep.
I say again — throwing/shooting things at cars is a bad idea. Before I get a chance to be the mature adult, one of the little boys says, “nah, we can’t shoot cars. They’re not the bad guys.” All of the little boys stand up, and then I hear…”WALKER!”
Oh, heck nos, I think. You boys are cute, but if you shoot anything in my child’s direction it is ON. Mama Bear doesn’t get a chance to come out and play, though, because as all of the kids turn in our direction the littlest one says, “Mamas and babies don’t count. They’re on our team. They’re good guys.” There is unanimous agreement of this statement, and one of the other kids clarifies, “yeah, anyone under four is on our team. Their mommies too.” I start giggling to myself. You hear that, little man? We’re the good guys!
As I’m crossing the street, I hear them call one more time. At “BIKE!”, I turn back slightly so I can see if the boys go from being cute and funny to public nuisances. I hold my breath…and one of the boys says, “that’s a daddy and his son!” and not one nerf ball goes flying.
Apparently, daddies and sons are exempt, too. 🙂 It was like the little kid equivalent to the shooting range that pops up either a bad guy or an innocent civilian. They’re probably wishing that our neighborhood had a few more bad guys, but I appreciate a group of little boys with a little bit of reason wrapped up in their mischievousness.