Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Human Instinct

I question Lucy’s decision making process all the time. Whether it is the decision to nab a disgusting pigeon, wash her hands with yogurt or simply invent a meal by placing untraditional food items into an ordinary glass of milk (the salmon and green bean smoothie she made…. and drank, was particularly gross). Every day, she’ll do or say something that leaves me shaking my head, but that’s all part of being a kid right, it’s human. It’s our ability to think and make decisions based on reason rather than instinct that separates and allows us to dominate 99.79% of the animal kingdom. The exception of course being sharks whose decision to eat your face is always a good reason not to go in the ocean, and the Chupacabra a blood sucking bald devil/monkey/lizard/bat/kangaroo/rat that makes me cry and will keep me from ever visiting Puerto Rico. Anyway the point is this: Although we are able to make decisions, they are not always good ones. As a father I would like to think that while Lucy and Ruby are walking their way through this world, I’m able to help them facilitate their actions and to make good thoughtful choices. I just assume that they’ll take my advice until they are old enough to make sensible decisions on their own. I also assume, that they’ll assume, that my decisions are best for them. However, I never assumed that they would question me, that is until…

Lucy and her friend Anya were enjoying a hot summer day playing in the backyard where the dads were left in charge until the women returned. It was great, we had chips, drinks and a nice spot in the shade. After sweating for an hour, Lu suggested that the sprinkler be set up. With the nod of a head and some strategic placement the girls were soon frolicking through some of Chicago’s finest hose water. Suddenly Lucy stops….

“Da, I have to go potty.” I put down my beverage and begin to stand up. I was stopped when Anya's dad Neil suggested that she go right in the yard. Ummm duh? Of course, I mean it made sense to me. The girls were soaking wet and the nearest bathroom was 2 floors up. Plus it was his lawn, if he said Lu could pop-a-squat and pee on his nice green grass, we’ll by god that’s what she should do.
“No I don’t want to go on the grass; I wanna go on the potty.”
“It’s okay Lu, I don't mind, just go next to the bush there.” Neil said refereeing to the 6 foot hedge next to my chair.
“No, I wanna go to the bathroom.” Ahhh good lord! I’m confused by her unwillingness to be one with nature, to briefly live in the moment like a wild animal. I mean come on, if I’m ever at a place where the bathroom policy is turn around and pee, I’m taking full advantage of it, in fact, I probably drink more!
“Just go, no one is gonna see you. The quicker you do it, the quicker you and Anya can get back to playing in the sprinkler. If her Neil say’s it’s okay, then it’s okay.” She clearly seems unconvinced that this is the appropriate decision, but after a second she looks at me, then looks at Neil dad and says, “Okay, I’ll just go right over here.” That’s my girl; She’s still unsure, but willing to listen to her dad. She moves over to the bush…
“Are you sure that this is okay?” She’s says again. Man is she stubborn,I mean come on, what’s the big deal? Just go! This is the clearly the best option right now...not always, but right now! We both nod our heads to answer her question. She shrugs her shoulders, bends down and does the deed.

A few seconds later after she walked away we found out why she was so concerned, so hesitant and so conflicted. She was thinking like a human, she was reasoning. She knew we were wrong, we never asked; we both just assumed that when she said she had to go “bathroom,” she meant she had to pee.

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