On weekends, I'm often out both mornings at our older child's activity, where parents assemble, frazzled and bleary eyed, but mostly relaxed, to deposit their kids on the hockey rink. They settle into the bleachers, or along the boards, to watch. They often do it, coffee in hand. It's Winter, and you want a warm beverage. It's the weekend, and coffee is one way to offset the wine you had or lack of sleep you got the night before. Morning feels good with coffee, sitting down, your kid getting exercise out there, while you attempt to wake up.
I look at these parents with envy. I eye their cup of coffee with longing. Not me. No portable coffee, not since my toddler made the act of holding a liquid completely dangerous. Sometime around age two my daughter began running everywhere. She has an adorable, bouncy little trot. But she's getting faster. She bounces off things, stairs, walls, but mostly me, or whichever guardian is trotting around the hockey rink bleachers, trying to ensure that she doesn't crack her head.
My husband and I trade off, because the work can be strenuous. First, you make loops around the top of the rink on a concrete track. She darts for the looming aisles of bleachers. After that, you try to hang out at the bottom of the bleachers, where there is less concrete, but of course she somehow falls on the flat, and cracks her head. But she's not put off. The girl needs to climb. She uses her stomach to get up onto each bleacher and then slides across it, back onto her feet, and up again. You can spot her. What you cannot do is look up, watch your other child, or ever, ever drink coffee.
For awhile, I still tried to buy paper cups of coffee. They have fitted plastic lids; what could go wrong? But after wearing it, or dropping it in haste to stop running toddler, or realizing that I never, ever got to drink it before it got cold, I accepted the fact that toddlers and portable coffees are not to be mixed. I drink espresso, quickly, in one gulp. I drink my coffee in the kitchen, quickly, before we go anywhere. I give it about one, maybe two more years before the bleachers lose their allure, or she becomes a safe climber, or she learns to skate, too. Then I'll have saved so much money not buying coffees that I can get one of those fancy vacuum thermoses, where the coffee never goes cold. Then I'll remember, with nostalgia, all the times in which my toddler's momentum defied the act of drinking coffee:
- When the toddler slid into your knees
- When the toddler threw herself into your lap
- When the toddler tried to hug your arm
- When the toddler jumped under your cup
- When the toddler swung the hockey stick around
- When the toddler threw the lego into your coffee
- When the toddler didn't use his words
- When the toddler was a windmill
- When you had to break the toddler's fall
- When you tripped over the toddler and fell