Only child, 3.
In believe in previous lives.
Not because of some religious belief or some New Age thought process. I simply believe in a previous life because I used to have one. I remember it vividly.
In my previous life, I could go to the store, get what I came for, and come home – almost without a thought. Now, however, I have a child.
When my three-year old found out that we were going to the store, she announced that she wanted to go to the wishing water fountain at the mall. We have done this quite often because the fountain is right outside the store and she always enjoys stopping by and secretly dipping her fingers in. On this particular day, however, I didn’t have time to make a long stop at the fountain, so I laid out the pre-store disclaimer while we were still in the parking lot. In great detail, I explained what we would – and would not – be doing.
“We are going to this store because I need one thing. We will go inside the store for the one thing I need. We will not have time to go to the wishing water fountain today. We will not get toys. We will not get candy. We will not get a slushy and we will not ride the little rides outside the store because I have no quarters.”
Sometimes, it’s helpful if you have them sign something in crayon.
As soon as we entered the store, it began.
“Can I get some gum?”
“Can we just look at toys?”
“Dad, are you hungry?”
“I’m hot – can I get a slushy?”
“Can I ride that ride when we’re done?”
(So much for disclaimers.)
I withstood the barrage, stayed on task, and completed our mission in record time. Well, almost – the item I came for was not in the store. All requests for toys, candy, and slushy’s had been successfully deflected. Not being able to find what I came for, I announced it was time to leave the store.
“No, you’re mean.”
“I am not mean.”
“Yes you are too, mean. I want to go to the wishing water fountain!”
“We can’t do that today.”
Then, almost as if somebody pulled a rip cord from her body, she crumpled to the floor in a heap. I lifted her by the hand only to discover that my child now had no bones! She was dangling from my arm, refusing to walk, flomping around the aisle like a moaning bag of laundry.
I don’t recall if I heard angelic singing or not, but I flashed-back to my previous life. I let go of her hand and started to leave the store, walking down the aisle as I would have in the old days – solo.
Suddenly, bones formed, muscles functioned. She passed me like a NASCAR driver, turned to face me and tried shoving my legs back into the store. I hoisted her screaming head over my shoulder and, with her kicking legs fluttering in front of me; we headed for the parking lot. (I’m sure to the applause of many shoppers.)
A cautionary note for men: when carrying a pair of kicking legs over your shoulder, be sure to keep your arm extended, like a Roman sentry. This ensures that none of the rapid fire kicks finds a home, if you know what I mean.
Not that I was even considering another child at that point, but I didn’t want to be flomping around the parking lot with no bones either.
Sorry – got to go. More later.