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-Sweet Child 'O Mine- ...leave me not. I took my baby, Madeline, on a nature walk. This was one of the few pics I managed with my phone. We both took our DSLR's with us, intent on taking pics galore. Best laid plans. Sweet child o' mine listens not. It quickly became evident that we were off to the races. She would take a pic and I would wait for her patiently. I wanted to take a pic, she would not. She would rush ahead, in a hurry to get the next shot, the better angle, the better pic. Too far ahead for comfort, if you ask me. Though she's almost as tall as I, I still have that fear that someone is going to snatch her up before I can get there to stop them. It's a fear I've had since she was a new born. You didn't often see us in crowded places for that reason, and if you did, you'd see my Kung-fu grip on her tiny little hand. It made for some interesting outings, curious child that she has always been. Now, she's two years removed from the hand-holding. She absolutely, posi-fucking-tively won't allow it anymore. Secretly, I'm proud of how fiercely independent she's turned out to be. But for now, I have to be a dad. I have to use the virtual handholding tool-kit, since the real one is not allowed anymore. So I call out, yell and cajole her into stopping. She begs, "Can I go down this path? Please daddy!" Me: "No." Her: "Why not?" Me: "Cause there could be lions and bears and killer clowns." Her: "Well, I'm not afraid." Me: "-sigh- I know...that's exactly why not." So she relents temporarily. I know she will ask again and again until finally, I give in. For now, I find solace in the fact that I won that skirmish, though I'm afraid my wins will be few and far between as she gets older. Hopefully, we've raised her right and she will make choices that are right for her, whatever that may mean. Hopefully, there will be no need for skirmishes, battles or full out war. In the mean time, I'll still try to keep the lions, the bears and the killer clowns at bay.