Little ones are sneaky. It's a simple fact. They don't do it on purpose - at least not till they are old enough to know what they are doing is considered 'sneaky' - but they do do it.
It starts when they are little (well, 'littler'). You have just come home from the hospital with your little bundle of joy, and finally, after a whole lot of crying and cajouling and rocking, they have fallen asleep. But now, you can't tell if they are breathing or not. So you lean over to see if you can hear them. Nope. Okay... so you try putting your hand near their nose and mouth to see if you can feel their breath. Nope. Okay... now you are starting to panic a little bit. Hand on their chest....it's not moving. Okay... now you are totally freaking out and thinking you need to start mouth to mouth when all of a sudden they let out a huge sigh. Little bugger was holding their breath.
We've all been there. Perched precariously on the edge of total freak out and trying to stay calm. And they don't do it just one time, or even two. This goes on for months... and months. Even at almost two, Little P can get my heart racing and my mind going a million miles an hour trying to think of every possible scenario, only to have her either sigh, burp, fart or do a combination of all three.
And it doesn't stop there. They seem to have this uncanny ability to disappear right in the split second when you look down to get something. It's like 'poof' and they are gone. Like a thief in the night, there isn't any trace of them. So, trying not to be 'that' parent, you know, the one who panics at every little thing, you start to look for them, almost nonchalently at first - checking in the tunnels, maybe looking under the slides, all the places little ones like to hide. But you can't find them and now, you are starting to worry. Wasn't there something on the news the other night about some little kid being taken right from their backyard? Or was it a playground? Maybe a school. Should I call 911 and report a missing child? No. Hang on. They've been gone for like 30 seconds. They can't have gone far. So you extend your search and just when your 'cool' is starting to crack, you hear them laugh, and there they are, playing in the dirt with another little one. Of course they are. Were else would they be? And even though you know it's been mere seconds since you saw them, you race up to them and hug them, thanking the gods above for keeping your little one safe and saving you from looking like a complete lunatic. Meanwhile your little one has no idea what you have been going through and gives the kid they have been playing with the look that says 'Your Mom crazy too?', and you just know the other kid looks at them with a look that says 'Kid, you have no idea how crazy they can get.'
See. They are sneaky. And it's not just when you are out and about with them. They do it at home too. Ever been at home and all of a sudden think 'It's too quiet'? And in the few short seconds it takes for that to register and you to locate your little one, you've already envisioned all sorts of horrible things, only to find that they are actually just in their room reading a book, or playing with their toys, or if you are really lucky, curled up asleep with their favorite blanket and toy.
They have no idea, absolutely no idea, how many heart attacks they give you in a day. No clue what so ever. And finally it dawns on you. All those times when your Mother or Father said to you, 'Just wait till you have kids. Then you will understand what you put us through.' Yup, I get it now.
And I know it's only just begun. I'm sure that even though I'm grown up and now have a child of my own, that, from time to time, I still cause my parent's hearts to race. I have no doubt that there a many a sleepless night ahead of me, worrying about Little P and where she is and what she is doing and who she is with. It comes with the terriority. And I for one, wouldn't change that for the world.
So, bring on the heart attacks, the panic attacks and every form of anxiety there is. I'm ready for it.