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I was babysitting my friend's daughter today. I took the kids to the park and when we left, I strapped my son into his carseat while two-year-old Amy waited. Or so I thought.
I looked up to see her fingers in the crack of the van door on the other side. She had opened it with the handle and was pushing the sliding panel back, millimeter by millimeter, with every ounce of strength in her pudgy arm.
"No, no, Amy!" I cried, rushing around the van to rescue her. I helped her into her carseat. "Don't do that again, Sweetie."
Her brow furrowed and she focused her blueberry eyes intently on my face. "Why?"
"Because your fingers could get crushed," I explained. "The door is too heavy for you."
She frowned. "But I already opened it myself!"
"But it could crush your fingers." I demonstrated for her how the door could slide backwards once opened. "It would really hurt and you would cry and cry."
"Would it be an owwie?" she asked.
"A very big owwie," I said. "You would probably have to go to the hospital."
"Would the doctor come?"
"Yes, the doctor would come and the nurses and it would really hurt."
My son, who resents being scolded almost as much as he resents going to the doctor, listened with horrified detachment, but Amy persisted.
"And would my mommy see me and would she cry and cry?"
"Yes, she probably would," I said, thinking I had made an effective impression. "And you would cry too. So don't do that again."
I strapped her in and gave her her sippy cup, then prepared to shut the door, thinking of the errands I needed to run before we could go home and have lunch.
"Would I lie down?" Amy asked.
"Would I lie down?"
"Lie down where, honey. I don't know what you're talking about."
"Would I lie down at the hosabel?"
Suddenly I had a mental picture of her in a little hospital gown, lying on a bed with eyes closed and flaxen hair strewn across the pillow, while the doctor and the nurses and Mommy wailed and wrung their hands.
"Why are you laughing, Mrs. Hardy?"
Deciding to abandon the hospital, I replied, “Because you’re being very funny. Now drink your milk,” and shut the door.