Dear Nice Lady,
First off, thank you! On our way back from preschool, I sat down next to you on the F train—and Sasha immediately turned crabby. You know the kind of crabby: whining, limp as an overcooked strand of spaghetti, unwilling either to sit or stand or be held.
But you! With the lightning speed of a practiced mom, you pulled from your purse a plastic figurine of unknown provenance, and offered it to my lil’ monster. Fascinated, she took it and held it in her hands. But frankly, her attention was more on you than on the toy: Who is this stranger, I could hear her thinking, who can produce toys for me with such ease? And how can I bring her home?
Alas, the toy was only a temporary salve. After she’d looked it over, and after I tried tickling her with it, Sasha gave up, returning to her limp-noodle mode of exhibiting her frustration. And so I handed the figurine back to you, apologized, and took Sasha into the far corner of the train, where one stop later we debarked.
I don’t know what it is with this kid. The age, right? She can’t not move, not squirm, not fidget. It’s just impossible for her to keep still, like there’s a high-gear motor running within that just won’t shut down. A stage, yes, I’m sure, but a frustrating one. Oh, well.
Anyway, thank you again. I hope Sasha’s failure to appreciate your gift (she even knows how to say—and sign—”thank you,” but she wouldn’t) hasn’t dampened your willingness to aid other parents. And you’ve inspired me, too. From now on, I’ll carry some kind of kid-friendly gewgaw in my pocket, if not to calm down Sasha then for other harried dads like me. For that, double thank you.