b Papa Dog's Blog: Sank Haven for Leetle Girls

Papa Dog's Blog

A Thing Wherein I Infrequently Write Some Stuff

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Sank Haven for Leetle Girls

I can’t help it – I’ve lately found myself fascinated by little girls, the ones about four or five years old. I see them every day. There’s a daycare in my building, and when I leave work in the evening there’s always at least one or two tearing about the plaza under the weary gaze of their working parent(s).

You’ll be relieved (I’m sure) to hear that when I’m checking out these little darlings it’s not in a creepy Humbert Humbert way but rather as the father of a cranky (as I write) little carpet-roller who will one day turn into just such a frolicsome pre-nymphet. Tonight I exited the BART station just behind a little girl and her father, and watched avidly as she hopped down the stairs from the overpass, then raced to catch up with daddy and grab his hand as they went down the last flight to the parking lot. “Someday Baby Dog will do that,” thought I. I have to be careful, though, because I can imagine a concerned observer mistaking my fanciful little projection into my parental future as a violation of the penal code in the offing. For one thing, I tend to focus on the girl’s legs – but not, at the risk of protesting too much, in a prurient way. I’m keenly interested in the mechanics of small child locomotion, how their gait reveals an innocent confidence unsupported by actual accomplishment.* I suppose I’d see much the same thing watching little boys, but it’s a little girl I have at home, so that’s what catches my attention. The girl at BART tonight raced down a flight of stone steps, and by the time she hit level ground her legs were canted at 45 degrees. It was a miracle she remained upright, but if she felt any concern for her equilibrium, it was invisible. Children at that age manage to attain some strange kind of awkward gracefulness. They lack full control of their bodies and are largely incapable of finesse in their movements, but they are for the most part ignorant of these limitations. There’s magic in that, I think…in the reach routinely exceeding the grasp, in disaster being continuously averted without ever being noticed.

So it’s nice, for now, to watch other fathers’ daughters skipping toward a granite pillar with head turned back, yelling, “Watch me! Watch me!” I can look from across the plaza and think, “How lovely,” secure in the knowledge that my daughter isn’t even on her feet yet. These are the peaceful years before the inevitable time when I’ll find myself more personally involved in that scene, thinking not “How lovely,” but, “Jesus fucking christ, you’re going to break your neck!”
*Mentally insert comparison to George Bush here.


Blogger Judy said...

It is soooo much fun to watch them grow up. You will find pleasant surprises at every turn - the trip of a lifetime!

1:05 PM  

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