It’s January. We’re 9 months in. He reaches for the tissue box and looks back at me, already aware that I’m gonna say “No.” I’m trying to remember what the parenting books tell me I’m supposed to do in this situation: set a boundary? Or let him explore? I can’t remember, so I tell him, “Ok, one time, so you can get it out of your system.”
And he pulls those tissues out with such gusto. It’s like he’s been waiting his entire life for this moment, which, quite possibly, he has. And he’s waving them around like a little mini modern dancer and then he starts tearing one apart and I hide the rest, then I hide all of the tiny pieces when he’s done so that he doesn’t eat them, but all the while I’m starting to worry: does this mean he’s gonna grow up to be a serial killer? Like, why all the destruction???
When do we get to the building towers out of blocks instead of just knocking them down? When do we get to the actual coloring with crayons instead of just eating them?
But then my mom tells me I spent an entire airplane flight ripping apart a magazine when I was a baby and she let me do it because (and I quote) “You were being quiet and not bothering anyone.” So I let him do it, because I didn’t grow up to be a serial killer.
And, later this evening, when we embark upon our first flight together so that I can give my paper at the Dance Studies Association conference at Northwestern University, I intend to do the same. Especially because I, in my infinite wisdom, accidentally booked out flight for 9:30pm instead of 9:30am. You know… because toddlers are known for becoming increasingly angelic as the night wears on.