The past few days have been pretty good toddler days. He eats. He sleeps. He plays.
I think he may have mastered getting oatmeal into his mouth and not so much his lap. However, there were a few spoonfuls that ended up there again. This morning we did our usual. Breakfast; oats, fruit, toast and Naked's Green Machine Smoothie. Its crammed full of nutrients, but I think he likes it because it's green. After breakfast he went out with "Dada" to pick up his check from work. This is always an experience for him. He gets to see the kitchen and roam around the dining room. Of course, he's well behaved so he doesn't tear anything up.
However, home is a different story.
He got to eat some cheese, meet the chef and goto the bank. All seemingly mundane things for adults, yet he gets so excited. Just to be. Anywhere. Doing anything. He loves it. Especially with daddy. While he was gone I finished 2 loads of laundry and cleaned my dear sweet son's messy room.
My husband and I had planned on going to our favorite restaurant for dinner, but soon learned that Wednesday is the only day of the week they're closed. So we went to our other favorite restaurant. Just as delicious, just as fresh. Little man enjoys both restaurants. We grabbed a table outdoors, I love outdoors seating with a toddler. When he throws food on the ground I don't feel as bad. The birds usually come eat the pita, and we get to watch. He loves watching birds.
"Bah, bah!" He attempted to say bird while pointing.
"Yes, birds! I see! They're eating dinner too!" I said.
"Yum, yum!" He said.
"Exactly, they're eating too." I repeated.
"No, he means they're tasty." My husband added. We laughed.
All the times I feel like I've failed as a mother, I think of all of the smiles I've made come across my son's glowing face. If you can say that, I think you're succeeding. Which brings me to what I even wanted to write about in the first place. Let this be said, these next statements are coming from a truly sincere place. Not a hateful place, nor a judgemental place, but a worried place. A sad place.
As we were scarfing down our hummus and shwarma, a woman walked by with her children. She had two boys, who looked to be about 2 and 4. The two year old was struggling to keep up with his mom as the four year old was checking out the life of the city. Our little man looked at the boys with curiosity. I'm sure he wanted to get out of his highchair and run around the streets with them. The boys glanced up at us and we said hi.
"Say hi to the little boys." I said to my son. He didn't move an inch. He never says "hi" when I ask him to in public. Really stubborn already, truly a trait of his father. *grin* I waved to them, they just stared. As they got closer to us and walked by, I noticed the smallest boy had. . . . .well, he had. . . .feces stains on his pants. All over his pants. His pants that were about 3 sizes too small. His little chubby light brown face was dirty and he looked very unhappy, I mean who wouldn't in that situation? How does it happen? Not only did this woman have two children she obviously couldn't take care of, but she had two more in a stroller, who looked like twins, behind her that her boyfriend or husband was pushing. He nodded his head, and kept walking with the smaller boys in the stroller. I was filled with instant sadness and an overwhelming sense of helplessness. If I could, I would have taken those babies. Of course, I don't have enough resources for 4 extra children under the age of 4. Therefore, I don't have 4 extra children. All under the age of 4.
Education is important.
Educating women of all socioeconomic backgrounds, races, ages, shapes and sizes. We need Planned Parenthood. We need easy access to birth control. We need easy access to pregnancy planning education. We need this. Today I was reminded of how badly we need this.
What should I have done? I don't even know the lady. Her children faces were not glowing with smiles from ear to ear. They were glowing with hurt, pain and need. I just sat there, helpless. I began to help my son get his mujaddara in his mouth. I couldn't help but wonder how much food those babies had eaten today. Everything we did with my son afterwards, I couldn't help but think of those little, tiny, love-starved innocent boys.
We went for an after dinner walk in the city. My son loved the busy city. He kept saying "Vroom, vroom!" as the cars drove by. He pointed at the buildings and the trees. The birds and the people. So much to "Ooo!" and "Ahh!" over. He's so happy.
And I can't help but feel a little pride.