raised in the ranks of green peace

Sometimes (ok, just about on a minutely basis) a two-year-old does things with which you're not all that comfortable. When they're really little, it's more along the lines of breaking social mores or disputing you with a well-placed, "NO!"

Frankly, it's hard to get too worried about what they do, as they are sapling-sized; small enough that you can pick them up and remove them bodily from whatever civilized environment they've offended. So you might sustain a few bruises and hearing loss from the kicking and screaming... it's just Terrible Twos Battle Scars. We all got 'em. But generally they have to do what you tell them, because you're just plain bigger.

At some point you have to pick your battles, know when to say nothing. We've learned that with the five year old. Thought we had a few years with Punkinhead. At two, you expect that they will only associate with those whom you deem fit, those whom you expose them to. Punkinhead has branched out, so to speak.

At first it seemed an unlikely, rather amusing diversion. To be sure, we congratulated ourselves on rearing an early bloomer. Surely this was one of those passing fancies. After all, with a two-year-old, whims change with the passing of the seasons. Certainly there was no return on the affection she bestowed on her chosen one. However, when there was no response, she simply expanded the breadth of her love to include all of that ilk. We assured ourselves, "Oh, it's just a phase." But nearly a year later, the roots of her devotion seem only go grow deeper.

Still no return. But then there never could be. Poor Punkinhead couldn't see the forest for the trees.

They don't hug back after all.

She chose first to limit her association with only the eight trees in our backyard. Hugging and kissing eight trees took up the better part of a quarter hour. Ok, odd, but harmless. Kinda cute really; she looks quite sprite-like with her curly hair and cherubic face peeking round the trunk of a tree. There was, and still is, a special place in her heart for the aspens by the back porch.

Then she began to spread the love; to become a slut of the forest. It started with a passing pat. Now she hugs trees everywhere. Parks, downtown, at the (wince) neighbor's house.

What could we do? It makes her so happy.

But, we realized that things might have progressed a little far when last summer, after going several days without indulging, she hugged a tent post. We had to find a tree, and quick. Not hard to do up at the lake, since it's surrounded by forest. She hugged every tree at the park and got angry when someone was leaning against one.

"No, see, honey," Insert mortified smile at tree-leaner. He didn't smile back. "This one's big. You can go round the other side to kiss it."

I asked her recently if they loved her back (you know, just to see how deep this psychotic episode went.) She looked at me as if I were the one who was nuts.

"Trees don't hug, mom."

Ok, yeah, I've tried it. Didn't do much for me.

And no, they don't hug back.

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