Monday, April 6, 2015

Pick Up Me

        Breakfast is over and the girls are playing in the family room when I walk in. Kiley spots me, stands up, raises her arms towards me and says, “Pick up me”. Twenty minutes later while I am in the kitchen, Kiley walks in, comes over to me, raises her arms towards me and says, “Pick up me”. An hour after that as I am letting Mister Pickles outside, Kiley raises her arms towards me and says, “Pick up me”. In each of these instances I put her off and did not pick her up. Each time she persisted until it became apparent to her that I was not going to pick her up, then let it drop. It’s not that I don’t like picking her up or holding her. It’s just that on these three particular instances I did not bow to her wishes, whereas on the two-thousand–seven-hundred-eighty-nine other times that day when she raised her arms towards me and said, “Pick up me”, I did.

        Kiley loves to be picked up and carried around. Mackey does too but not as much as Kiley. Kiley likes to be held. Whether you are standing or sitting doesn’t matter, she likes it when you hold her. She likes a lot of physical contact in general. She is always grabbing onto me or climbing on me, Uncle Tom too, in fact especially Uncle Tom. When she is here he gets no rest. She will spend hours of her day sitting in his lap watching TV or sitting curled up close to him with his arm around her. She always wants him to be close by and by "close by" I mean in the same room. No matter what she is doing at the time, if he leaves the room she wants to go with him. If he wants to do something that requires him to leave her presence, he often waits until she becomes occupied with something else then sneaks out of the room. It's just easier. When she notices he has sneaked off and is not in the same room with her, she starts looking and calling for him. She does the same thing with me. She wants us to be available to her at all times. If she had her way, either Uncle Tom or I would carry her around the house most of the day and be available to carry her around the house the remainder of the time as well. To her, we are like horses or mules, beasts of burden.

I don't think this will make it any easier to carry you at the same time, ladies.

        Of course, once you pick up Kiley, Mackey wants the same treatment and it becomes a battle between two insistent tyrants each vying for your "pick up me" abilities. When that happens nobody gets picked up, which usually results in Mackey crying, at least briefly. (Nineteen-month-olds are like today's progressive college students  – they have a simplistic view of the world, are easily offended, insist things be their own way, and require instant gratification. With toddlers, however, it's understandable that they would think the whole world should bow to their infantile opinions while simultaneously needing someone more responsible to wipe their butts.)

       Be that as it may, in the end you can't be carrying around a three-year-old all day long, at least not at my age, and all children need to learn that other people have desires and priorities that have to be balanced against their own. We are not beasts of burden. Still, I like picking Kiley up, Mackey too. The opportunity to be that physically close to another person, especially ones as sweet and affectionate as those two, is a rare joy in this world. Is it not? That opportunity will not last forever. Kiley grows with every passing day and as her body and mind become bigger her desire to have someone "pick up me" will become smaller. And so I often bow to her wishes and pick her up whenever it is practical, knowing that, as with all children, there will come a day when I pick her up, then put her down, and never pick her up again - ever. On that day we will both lose something precious.


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