Aren't they fun! Now that I am a great grandfather, I can enjoy these raw mannered, miniature human beings without bearing responsibility for their embarrassing behavior. Last night I was reminded of this by my own great granddaughter in Souplantation. She was running wild, and as a two year old she is very good at it. There are only two time references in the mind of a two: now and never. When you don't give them what they want right now, their understanding is that they will NEVER get it. At this age a child is incapable of registering a quiet complaint, of course. Instead the body gyrates as we hear high frequency vocalizations worth many decibels. At Souplantation everyone has an interesting tray in front of himself/herself. Cassie made the rounds, pointing to this drink and to that interesting entree, even sticking her cute little finger into messy things without licking off the residue.
We see ourselves in the bald-faced bid for attention, and the unabashed demand that it's all about me! We do it with such practised disguise. It will take them several years to learn to pull this off with deceptive and convoluted reasoning. That is what we learn as adults, but the basic concern about self is just as ugly as it is raw in a two year old.
It is somewhat amusing to see the way adults behave when a two year old is in the crowd. All these mature conversationalists suddenly become blithering idiots. In any group there is one or two personalities whose natural tendency is to dominate the direction of conversation. Not when there is a two in the group. Adult conversation never gets very far before it is interrupted by the needs (demands?) of a toddler. And nobody seems to mind. I know when it is my great granddaughter, my mind (if not my mouth) says, "She can do no wrong." I'm such a terrible theologian when I am around her!
When we are in a restaurant without family, I know I search the other booths for the eyes of a little one. I love to flirt with babies and toddlers. I've found an interesting thing: there is a wide variety of responses I get from kids. Some eyes are full of mischief, and they are so happy to respond to the faces I make with grins or grimaces to entertain me.
Then there are some kids who studiously refuse to make eye contact with me. I surmise by the family behavior (especially a humorless authority figure in the family who is making unreasonable demands) that life for a kid in this family is a drudgery. Surely they will run away or get married (do they still do that?) at a very early age.