On the train the other day I saw a guy holding his child, and, with the swaying and jolts, he seemed to want to challenge himself, so he started to toss the kid in the air and catch him.
“Yay,” the father would say. “Yay,” with each toss and catch.
Now, some people might see the danger here. A shaking train. A pudgy two-year-old. A reckless father. You can join the dots. I know I did. So I used my foresight to step forward, find a good seat and sit to watch.
“Yay,” continued the father. “Yay,” he said again. The train bumped, the father said “Oh,” there was a loud slap as the kid’s chest hit the father in the face, and its small arms began to grapple for the father’s clothing, as a rock climber might after slipping from a cliff, grappling for a ledge to prevent a plummet to the ground.
Of course a rock climber would have a series of safety cams, or a least a pleasant companion below, belaying the journey with a carabiner and rope. The average two-year-old does not have as much backup.
To be fair, many parents, after spending money on a baby capsule, formula, cot, pram, nappies, new tupperware, stewed apples, rubber nibbles, and a sedan, can not afford rock climbing equipment. The My-First-Y-Harness isn’t sold in many shops. Nor should it be, as most parents are too smart to toss their children into the air as a train speeds along a bumpy track.
To its credit, the infant seemed very aware of this. Never have I seen a greater look of disappointment on someone’s face. Well, my mother have given me a few looks. Mainly when I outline career choices. But for the baby, I suppose fed-up-ness is the word. It was as if the kid wanted to say, “For fuck’s sake, here we go again.”
My mother often verbalised the same concept.
Now obviously the father was alarmed.
“Oh, no,” he said, as the young kid slipped down his front, collided with his shoes and rolled to the ground.
“Are you alright little matey?” he said, picking the kid up and giving it gave it a rub. One of those rubs that if the child wasn’t already sore, it would now have some form of rope burn.
The kid didn’t say a word. Nothing. Just a continued look, saying to his father, in all but words, “I don’t think we can communicate on the same level. You fucking nuffty.”
In the future, at the age of eight or seven, when the kid has some computer marketing skills and is malingering his own search engine optimisation firm, he’ll probably move out of home and open an orphanage for children with fuck-wit parents. Saving kids from grown-up who take kids for joy rides on jet-skies, rides on the back of utes, or just smoke into the crib.
For now, the kid could see the futility of its predicament. It furrowed its brow, rolled its eyes, and accepted the situation. The train came to a stop. Before leaving the father hoisted the boy onto his back, accidentally slammed the kid’s head against the door frame, and left the train.