Sunday, May 23, 2010

Trashy Toddler

Sometimes I wish I lived out in the country, where the kids could just run out the door and go; freeing themselves from the massive energy overload that they are carrying around, driving parents up the wall and eventually leading to the destruction of even the sturdiest home if kept too long inside.  Sometimes  Frequently I want to just open the door and tell Kai “Run Free, Wild Child!” and even though our yard is considered spacious for LA-standards, there is just not enough room to really ‘run free’ – especially for a ‘wild child’.  As city-dwellers we then take our children out to the playground, hoping that that will do the trick. 

Last week we had one of those days when Kai was in desperate need of running around and climbing on items other than lawn furniture and the dogs.  So, I packed up the kids and off we went.  Our destination was a local playground, adjacent to a park where people run, play baseball, picnic, etc.  Enough space to run around.  Beautiful.  This was the perfect morning to wear both kids out, to ensure good naps and a beautiful afternoon in which everyone was rested and well-spirited.

Kai enjoyed the playground only briefly and then took off: running towards the big trees only to announce that the biggest one was the one he was going to climb.  You go little monkey!  Whatever helps you release all that toddler-energy is fine with me!  I will sit back and watch you do it.  He didn’t get any further than playing peekaboo, but that was adorable as well.

Once the tree was old news and no longer served a purpose to my little explorer, he moved on to finding the next item of interest.  And then, there it was....: the empty yogurt container in the grass.  The lid right next to it.  Kai spotted it and out came his determination: the “trashy” had to be thrown out in one of the trashcans that were all around.  Whereas I was proud of my toddler for his determination to save our environment and keep our parks clean and green, I wasn’t grooving too much on the thought of him picking up a dirty yogurt container that used to belong to who-knows-who and get his hands all of it.  Yuck.  It took an awful lot of distraction methods on mommy’s part to get the young man to move away (and to keep him away) from the “trashy”.  It’s fascinating how, once he has something in his mind, hardly anything can keep him away from it.  Well, there are things (read: food & milk) that would distract him enough, but I was lacking those at the park, so it was a bit more challenging.
Now here’s what I wonder: if my 2-year old toddler knows and is able to throw other people’s trash in one of the zillion trashcans that are around in the park, why was the (I am assuming) adult who enjoyed the contents of the aforementioned yogurt cup incapable of doing so?
I really wonder what people are thinking when they just leave their trash behind.  Or actually, there is the crux of the problem: they don’t (think).  I really don’t want to launch in to a speech on how we should limit our trash, pick up after ourselves, etc., but again, if it comes so natural to a 2-year old toddler to pick up the trash and throw it out, why is that any different for us?  Where, along the way, do we lose that sense of decency / responsibility / manners / logic?
Now, the last thing I ponder over is the inexplicable question of why he (Kai) is more obsessed about other people’s trash than about his own (at home).  If only I could get my environmentally-focused explorer to pick up after himself at home…that’d be just lovely as it would save me a lot of work (and frustration).
Oh, and by the way: despite all the running, the fresh air and the release of energy, naps did not happen.  Since that day, I have been waiting for that beautiful afternoon in which everyone was rested and well-spirited.  Maybe today?



Celeste Smith said...

I never understand why people trash up rivers in that same way. If you are too idiotic to keep your beer cans out of the River...why even come to the River? Obviously you don't appreciate it! argh...big pet peeve.

Hope you get THAT day! I think that is the day all mommy's desire!

JWild said...

I know exactly what you mean! We went kayaking down a local river the other day and the amount of trash was just amazing to me! How people can just put their garbage in the river, either purposely or because of negligence, is beyond me!

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