One of Those Moments…

We took Thomas to the zoo yesterday. We all had a fantastic day, with Thomas alternately captivated by the animals and racing around roaring like a lion. There is a moment from the day though that is still tugging at my heart strings over 24 hours later, and it had nothing to do with animals at all.

Thomas gets a certain look about him when he is focused and determined about something. It’s a look I can read on his face, but also one that I can see in his walk. So when he set off away from us with that look, weaving amongst the legs of strangers beside the gorilla enclosure, we were immediately scanning for what had piqued his interest. Ian and I saw it at the same time, but Ian was closer, and quicker off the mark to intervene, just as Thomas tried to swipe a pink toy pushchair from a confused little girl over a head taller than him.

The watching crowd (they were watching the gorillas, to be fair, but we had inadvertently become a spectacle) were all cooing at how cute it was that he wanted the pushchair, smiling and laughing.

But Thomas wasn’t laughing. His face was screwed up, streaked with genuine tears and racked with real sobs.

And my heart broke a little bit for him. I was consumed more deeply than ever before with that feeling of wanting to prevent your child ever suffering hurt. Don’t get me wrong, of course Thomas could not have the pushchair. I don’t want him to have, or to think that he can have, anything and everything that he wants. Far from it. He needs to learn about possession, and sharing, and so many other complex principles. But he’s too young right now to understand or care about any of those things. Written all over his face was pure bewilderment at being unceremoniously jerked away from a toy he loves. And there was nothing I could do to explain why he wouldn’t get a turn to play with that particular pushchair as he would at nursery or a toddler group.

In that moment, I’d have done almost anything to make it better for him. If I could have conjured up a pushchair from nothing, I would have done so. If I had the power to make him understand, in order to take away his confusion and sadness in the situation, then that would have been even better.

But there was nothing Mummy could do to make it better in Thomas’s eyes, and I really felt his hurt.


(This was taken later, when he’d forgiven us. And today, at nursery, he got to push a pushchair round the garden to his heart’s content!)


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