Friday, February 18, 2011

If Only They Would Use Their Powers for Good

It never occurred to me before I had a child of my own that every skill a child develops, as wonderful and amazing as it is, can be used for ill as well as for good. A skill as simple and basic as learning to roll over can be hazardous on the changing table. Being able to walk means being able to crack one’s head open on the corner of a table. Being able to turn a doorknob means being able to get into all kinds of dangerous, forbidden places. Learning to talk means learning to talk back. And learning how to take off your own diaper means that your mother will have plenty of blackmail photographs for when you’re 13.

Yes, over the past few weeks Ryan has discovered how to take off his diaper, and has taken every opportunity to hone that skill. I often put him down for a nap with just a shirt and a diaper, and several days this week I went to get him up from his nap and found him wearing just a shirt. So it was not a great surprise today when I checked the baby monitor after he’d been in his crib for ten minutes or so, and I was treated to the sight of him sleeping soundly, in his usual posture of face buried in a blanket, clutching his rag, with his little bum sticking up in the air – covered in nothing but a thin sheen of Desitin.

Naturally, my immediate thought was to grab the camera. The image of my sleeping angel with his adorable naked bottom in the air is one I want to remember for years. But I hesitated, because what kind of mother keeps a photo like that around to embarrass her child in the years to come? My mother has a few photos of me that I’d rather had never seen the light of day. Do I really want my son to suffer the mortification that I do whenever I see those photos?

Who am I kidding? Of course I do.

But not until he's thirteen and really, really asking for it.
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