I turned on the TV this morning to watch the coverage of the shooting in Colorado. Ariella loves TV. The second she heard the noise, she turned her head to stare into the bright, shining lights on our brand new, 47 inch LED TV. Matt Lauer is in the middle of interviewing a seventeen year old witness to the shooting. Ariella stares straight into this teenager’s eyes and starts giggling.
“No, Ariella.” I tell her in the soft, sing-song baby voice. “This is a sad story. Something very sad happened.” She turns away from the TV, looks into my eyes and gives me the biggest grin you can imagine. I can’t help but smile back. How can I not? This precious little child has absolutely no ability to comprehend what happened (thank God). She just wants to look at all the bright lights and she wants me, her trusted mommy, to affirm this desire. “Hi. I know. That is a TV.”
What a weird moment. I’m smiling and talking nonsense while watching a teenager fight back tears after experiencing a horrifying tragedy. Parenthood: forcing adults to hide emotions since forever.
An hour later, Ariella and I are sitting in the waiting room at the vet as our dog is getting his nails clipped. Berlin hates getting his nails clipped with the same level of intensity that Ariella loves watching TV. I hear him crying in the other room and pretend that nothing is happening as I play with Ariella. Two minutes later, the vet comes out and tells me she needs my help to hold Berlin. In we go. I hold Berlin down as the vet clips away. Berlin cries a Shiba cry and squirms as if this is the most excruciating thing that has ever happened to him. It might actually be the most excruciating thing that has ever happened to him. I turn to see how Ariella is doing and sure enough, she is watching intently with a look of pure terror on her face. She is a witness of pain and reacts as though she is in pain herself. No tears, just a look of horror.
Luckily, I don’t think the incident caused any lasting damage, at least not for Berlin or Ariella . Berlin pranced all the way home and Ariella went back to playing with her stroller toy, happy as can be. I, on the other hand, feel horrible. I’ve already decided that John will be taking Berlin to his next nail clipping appointment and I can’t stop thinking about the shooting. What a horrible, awful day.
I can’t wait for Ariella to be able to think the way I can think. One day, she’ll be able to make fun of Berlin for being such a wuss and she’ll actually understand what Matt Lauer is saying. For now, though, I think I’m okay with having a sweet little baby who feels empathy for her doggy and has no idea how crazy and irrational the world is. Oh, to be 5 months old again. Babies are pretty amazing.