To answer this conundrum, you must first remember that it can be hard to step back and examine things from a distance, when something that resembles toxic waste is now dripping down your sleeve. Young parents have no idea of precisely what the goop might really be, but they are convinced that the source is the young child they are holding. This triggers a lot of responses from the young parent. Many range from “EWWWW” to “What the hell did she eat to turn into that?!?” In my family, I referred to it as “GERB,” this was a name coined after that cute little Gerber baby. As a young parent, you now are concerned for the health and well being for the little angel that just deposited this endless supply of “Gerb” onto you. Let me just say, Parents? Don’t worry about it. Babies produce and carry more toxic waste than any three chemical companies combined. It is natural, normal, and believe it or not, something that will pass until they turn old enough to start sneaking into your liquor cabinet.
Other forest vs. trees moments come about as the young child progresses through the natural order of destruction that often accompanies childhood. Whether it is the discovery of gravity, to wall art, to the flight characteristics of mom’s favorite china, the young parent is constantly reacting to the trauma de jure. Grandparents are often chided for their apparent lack of reaction to some of these things. Many of us will just sit and smile at young master destructo as he terrorizes the world as he knows it. Trust me, it isn’t that we don’t care, it is because we’re seeing the forest. For the young parent, it is nothing more than pure destruction, but for the grand parent, we recognize the youngster’s inherent curiosity. OR it could be we’re just enjoying the parental curse of “Someday I hope you have one just like you.....” One thing is sure, now that I can see the forest, my blood pressure is dropping, and for the first time in over 20 years, my heart rate is now back to a semblance of a normal range. Sadly, this only lasts until our youngest decides to wander in and out of the house at all hours. Amazingly, with my grandson, I see forest, but with our youngest, I’m still getting beat in the head with the damn tree. Funny how that works. ~ Michael S. Pauley