As we left the restaurant, Benjamin was sucking on an ice cube he had nabbed from his father’s iced tea. He is a social little bugger, so he was holding the slippery little sliver of ice in his hand while toddling towards the door and attempting to make eye contact with every person he saw.
And he dropped it on the floor. Now, my first reaction was to tell the not-quite-two-year-old to leave it behind, especially given that we were on a section of carpet clearly trod by every single person entering the dining room, not to mention the waiters on every single run. As he leaned over and attempted to retrieve it, I tried to ignore the germophobe in me and remind myself that it is important not to make the kids neurotic about these things. As the sliver of ice repeatedly slipped out of his stumpy little fingers and ground into the carpet, I had to bludgeon that germophobe into a corner.
Finally, he picked it up, and we continued our meander towards the door, Ben contentedly licking the remains of that ice cube. And, three seconds later, he dropped it again.
I decided that there needed to be a limit to these things, and that letting him pick it up and suck on it again, well that crossed the line into negligent parenting. As he knelt to retrieve it once again, I intervened: “OK, honey, let’s just leave it there.”
So, that’s where I fall on the mothering scale: somewhere between the first and second drop of an ice cube on the floor of a busy restaurant.