“Are you making good choices?” our friend, Donald, said to his one-year-old daughter as she climbed the wrong way up a slide, her little body slowly drifting to the right, and swaying toward the edge like a miniature Tower of Pisa.

She was not, needless to say, making good choices.

Today Declan opened up a kitchen cabinet and–in the 5 seconds I looked away to cut up a banana–found a bottle of cleaning product, stuck the nozzle in his mouth, and started sucking like it was the nipple on the world’s freshest milk bottle. When he was finished, he let out an exaggerated “Ahhhhhhhh” like the satisfied caffeine guzzlers in the Coke commercials.

He was not making good choices.

Don’t worry. He’ll be okay. We bought that particular cleaning product, in part, because of a door-to-door salesperson in Colorado who was happy to demonstrate for us that, in addition to all of its other superior qualities, the stuff is not harmful when swallowed. That she may have also sniffed glue as a young child is irrelevant. Colleen and I were both very impressed that a purple cleaning solution could be swirled and swigged just like a fine wine.

It’s possible we were not making good choices.

People do questionable things when they are tired.




When tired, Declan (who cannot walk or stand by himself) just starts letting go of the flat surfaces propping him up. Then he falls. And hits his head. And wonders what just happened.

Bad choices.

He will, despite being an accomplished crawler, decide to move his arms forward without holding his head up, thus ending up face down on the carpet with leftover dog hair up his nose.

Bad choices.

The other night (even as he protested the audacity of the dictatorial parents who were trying to help him do what his body clearly wanted to do…which was sleep) he bonked his head on the corner of a bookshelf, cried, got up, hit his head again on the same spot, fell down, cried, got up, picked up a small, hard ball and began repeatedly hitting himself in the head with it…the same part of his head, by the way, that he’d just seconds ago smashed TWICE into a hard, wooden object that does not move.

Poor choices.

Not that I’m any better.

I’m the one, after all, who chose not to hook up the child-proof lock on the kitchen cabinet where Declan found his new favorite purple beverage. I’m the one who has (once or twice or dozens of times) handed him not-safe-for-baby items such as electrical cords and then had to scramble as (shock!) he puts the item (that I hoped he just wanted to look at) in his mouth.

So are we making good choices, Declan and me? Not always. Are we making survivable choices? So far, so good.