Such a muppet

I was standing in the queue waiting to renew my driver’s licence when my two-year-old shrieked, “BIG BIRD!” and tore her hand from my grasp. Now, I know I was taking a chance by letting her free-range instead of trapping her in the pram, but she’s an angel and I knew she would be perfectly composed in public. Okay, that’s a lie. I knew she would be a wild thing and I figured that the worse she behaved, the more likely it was the staff would want to get us the heck out of there and perhaps would speed up the process.

Unfortunately the staff at my local AA are impervious to toddler behaviour and barely glanced at the two-year-old as she danced around the waiting area and played with her stuffed Cookie Monster on top of the displays of jumper cables and first-aid kits. While I wrestled insurance brochures out of her paws, I inched toward the counter until, finally, blessedly, it was my turn.

And then it happened.

“BIG BIRD! BIG BIRRRRRRRRD!” shrieked Miss Two, lunging to my left. I could feel the eyes of everyone in the place on us as I tried to reach her hand. But she was on a mission. Apparently there was a 2.5m tall yellow Sesame Street character somewhere in the AA and she was making a beeline for him.

“BIG BIRD!” she shouted triumphantly, skidding to a stop in front of a display of bright yellow fluffy car wash mitts. “Big Bird,” she said fondly, reaching out to touch one. With her other hand, she held up her Cookie Monster. “Cookie Monster! Big Bird!” she said happily, looking up at me. Then she plonked herself down on the floor and started to play with them.

“NEXT,” called a voice. I inched back toward the counter, handed over my paperwork, and kept one eye on Miss Two, Cookie Monster, and Big Bird/Fluffy Car Wash Mitt as they played happily together on the floor. It was, by far, the most pleasant bureaucratic experience of my life.

Now, you may be wondering if I purchased one of the fluffy car wash mitts that Miss Two mistook for Big Bird.

And I will tell you: I did not. Not because I’m a mean mother, nor because it was $10. But because I could picture the horror on Miss Two’s face when she saw her dad washing the car with Big Bird on the weekend. I don’t want to traumatise the poor kid! She’ll get enough of that when she’s my age, waiting in queues to get her driver licence renewed. For now I’m going to let her enjoy her innocence.

Katherine Granich

Editor, Tots to Teens

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