Friday, February 1, 2013

Toddlers Are Like Herding Sheep

I was almost kicked in the head by a sheep.

When I was little, my dad helped an older guy from our church with his farm once in a while. I have fond memories of tending to the garden, letting our Golden Retriever swim in the canal on the property and taking care of the animals on the farm.
One time, when I was about three, my mom came with us and kept me out of the way while my dad was putting the sheep in their pen. He'd gotten all of them back in except this one rowdy little lamb.  The lamb's mama didn't like this and suddenly leapt over the door of the pen to protect her baby from my dad, narrowly missing me in the process. If it weren't for my mom pulling me closer to her I would have been knocked over by the mama sheep.

What does this have to do with toddlers, you ask? I'll get to that in a minute.

We were invited to two birthday parties this weekend. The one on Saturday was at a house, so it was easy to keep an eye on the Bambinos but still let them play and have fun. The one on Sunday was at a bowling alley so I wrangled Peanut the whole time and spent maybe 10 minutes in the actual party area.

We were at the very end of the bowling alley separated from the rest of the lanes by stanchions. There was another party next to us, also stanchioned off and then the rest of the lanes open to the public. I spent the whole time following Peanut around trying to keep him from weaving in and out of the bowlers in our area, trying to keep him confined to our area within the stanchions and finally letting him roam the alley as he pleased.

After letting Peanut roam a while, I decided he was just going to learn that he needed to stay within our confines. I could almost see the wheels turning in his little head as he tried to figure out the best way to push past me. He pushed, he pulled, he got down on all fours and pushed my ankles with his head, he ran, he crawled, he twirled.

Finally, I decided to snag a piece of pizza and eat while giving up and let him roam (pizza on the go is healthier isn't it?)  while trying to teach him that he needed to at least hold my hand. He wasn't having that either.

It's at that point that I decided wrangling toddlers are a lot like herding sheep: they're cute and cuddly, you can try and try but that doesn't mean they're going to do what you want and they'll use any opportunity to escape.  Luckily, one of our little sheep is much more subdued and was mostly happy staying within the boundaries of the stanchions with Daddy. And I'm convinced I worked off my piece of pizza.

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