Sasha is now at an age—18 months—when, although she’s fully capable of walking three blocks to and from the subway (with a parent, of course; she’s not free-range yet), she’s not entirely sure she wants to. “Bao-bao!” she says, lifting her arms to be carried. Then, a few minutes later, “Down!” or “Walk?” She walks, or even runs, and then it’s back into the arms of myself or her mother.
Yesterday, I took her to the Preschool of America, a task that is usually her mother’s. We got out of the F train at East Broadway and crossed the street, which is when she asked, a bit to my surprise, to walk. I set her down and she took off across the sidewalk.
Then she tripped.
This was not, in itself, an unusual occurrence. Kids trip, adults trip. We fall down, maybe scrape our knees or our palms, cry a bit, get back up.
But this time, Sasha landed on her hands—and kept going. She did a full somersault, grazing her forehead on the sidewalk, and winding up on her back, tears bursting from her big eyes. I may sound calm now, but damn, that was scary. A scraped knee is one thing, but a head injury? Not what we like around here.
Of course, she was fine, and now, 24 hours later, what I remember most is the look on her face as she was completely inverted—a look of complete and utter surprise, a shocked discovery that the laws of physics allowed such spontaneous slapstick. Sorry, Sasha: I may be giggling at your pratfall, but one day you’ll understand. One day you’ll see me skateboarding.