Sunday, August 29, 2010

Born to Run

On Saturday the family visited the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, one of those places where people in the city can admire flowers that are not surrounded by concrete or whatever a dog left behind.  The city's buildings mostly disappear beyond the front gates, and for a brief time a person could escape all the noise and traffic and truly appreciate what nature has to offer.  Kyle liked the Garden because it gave him an opportunity to go running after girls.

This was not at all surprising.  These days, it's Kyle's trademark move.  Why bother with conversations or dinner drinks when all you need from a girl is the rush of running after her at full speed?  The chase wasn't unprovoked, either.  Jennifer says the girl had asked Kyle to run after her, and there was no way Kyle was going to pass up an offer like that.  Within fifteen minutes, the run was over, and both went their separate ways without exchanging numbers.  There was no awkwardness or stress of figuring out the right time to make that first call.  There was no frustration, no drama.  In the world of a two-year-old, playing hard-to-get simply means running slightly faster than the person chasing you. 

Right now, all of Kyle's relationships are very much like this one.  He usually meets someone, says "hi," and then starts running.  Often it's around the playground.  Sometimes it's at somebody's house, or occasionally at church.  He practices a lot, too.  Last Wednesday, he took a run at Jennifer's workplace.  Kyle wasn't chasing anyone then.  He just wanted to sprint down the hall, towards the closed office door of one of Jennifer's superiors.  Had he burst into that office, a multi-gazillion-dollar deal could have fallen apart, Jennifer would have been fired on the spot, and I would have had to go back to male modeling to pay for Kyle's diapers.  Or, perhaps, Kyle just would have created an awkward and embarrassing situation.  I didn't want either of these scenarios to happen, so I immediately darted after the little guy, realizing that he was moving faster as I was gaining on him.  This kid could run!  And he's only two!  I might have to join an exercise club just to make sure I could catch him when he turns five.

Now I know just how much of a feat it is to run away from him and not get caught.  Kudos to that girl at the Botanic Garden.  Kudos to those kids Kyle has chased at the playground.  Then again, it's probably not much of a feat for them, since their own legs are also turbo-charged.  As I wrote nearly two years ago, we need to find a way to harness the energy of children.  The kids at our local playground probably could keep our neighborhood lit throughout the night.

There's really no rhyme or reason to all this running.  I could understand kids running away from Kyle if he were carrying a hatchet and wearing a ski mask, but that only happened once when he was overtired, and since then he generally has been his smiley ol' self.  The running is just something the kids like to do, and they do it well.  As a parent, it's fun to watch, as long as I can watch from a nearby seat.

Someday all this running may lead to a friendship or two, but, as it was with the girl at the Botanic Garden, it's not happening just yet.  The kids tend to go their separate ways after a pursuit, even after one manages to beat the other in the race.  Like so many things in life, the run itself is more important than the finish.  Usually whenever Kyle catches up to someone, he doesn't exactly know what to do.  Often he just smiles or laughs or says "hi" again.  If he takes after his father, this is how he will deal with girls well into high school.  Better to just keep running.

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