As I wrote last week, we all went down to Beantown for a weekend a little while ago for some fun. This was our son, Short Stack’s second time there. The last time, about a year ago, he spent much of the trip strapped to my Wife’s back and being amazed at the snow falling or making grown men in grey suits act like idiots for him. He has that effect. Parents always prattle on about how that their kid is special some how. Especially cute, funny, smart, enlightened, etc. Well, I’m here to validate that. That is to say, babies have a power over us that is amazing. The reason is because they are totally uninhibited and will happily (and I mean this literally. They are just plain happy) do things just to get a reaction of some sort out of passers by. What makes baby-uninhibitedness so appealing is that you know that it comes directly from who they are. If you’re human, and have actually noticed the world around you, then you will likely find this very engaging.
At the time of our last visit, when riding on the T or going down an escalator, Short Stack loved to pick out some serious looking business-type person, someone who was vehemently ignoring the world… and smile at him. Not a regular smile, mind you. This is like when you used to take a magnifying glass and fry ants in the sun. Imagine a smile being used like that. Not simply being flashed at you but actually burning its way through your protective, thick city armor until you are helpless in it’s grip. Short Stack is a master at this and within scant seconds he would have someone who was likely a senior VP of somethingorother making goo-goo faces at him. It was very fun to watch.
This time around, Short Stack is bigger. He’s nearly two now and has other things on his mind. Fish generally. Jellyfish specifically. Boston has a great aquarium and we couldn’t wait to take him there. Much of the two hours spent there was on my shoulders. When your world view is mostly made up of kneecaps and handbags, it’s important to get as high up as possible. The hands down winner for him was watching the jellyfish tank full of moon jellies. Their mesmerizing swimming really caught his fancy. That, and the tank went from the floor, up so he could see while standing on his own two feet.
At times, the crowds would thin and he’d get to walk at his own pace, safe from getting knocked over or lost in a forest of legs. During one of his solo runs “off the leash” if you will, he happily trotted down a ramp and came face to face with… a two-ish little girl. Now, this was the interesting part to watch. Here I am, standing about 10 feet behind him and there’s the other dad standing about the same distance behind his daughter. There’s about 10 feet between Short Stack and her and they both stop cold. It immediately reminded me of a western shoot out. All we needed were tumbleweeds. After a few seconds of sizing up, the little girl ran up to Short Stack… and hugged him. I mean, REALLY hugged him… and then ran off. It was a drive by hugging. Short Stack was rooted to the spot, eyes big, arms at his side. He had been hugged! The father gave me an uncomfortable look and said something to his daughter about saving hugs for mama, but I thought it was hilarious. I scooped up Short Stack and told him that this was only the very beginning of being confused by girls. “You gotta watch ’em.”
Not that it will help you any!
We hit the gift shop before we left and being who he is and considering how warped his folks are, he bypassed every cute and cuddly stuffed animal penguin, seal or otter and wend directly for the plush jellyfish. He was shortly made the proud owner of a nice plush jelly with 10 inch tentacles and an fuzzy bell. Very nice.
It lives in his bed and he is often found clutching it in the morning. The lesson here, I suppose is that jellyfish are easier to figure out than girls. Jellies will swim around, eat fish, sting the other stuff if you let them, and according to Short Stack, go “Blooop, Blooop, Blooop” as they go on their merry way. All in all, you can trust them to just be jellyfish. Girl’s on the other hand… Well… I’ll help him the best I can but you just don’t know what they’ll do or when they’ll do it. The only thing you can really bank on is that girls rarely go “Blooop, Blooop, Blooop” as they sneak up on you, so you gotta stay vigilant. Otherwise, who knows when the next hugging could hit.