Have you ever seen Jurassic Park? I want to be crystal clear here: not the latest Jurassic-this-is-my-excuse-to-stare-at-Chris Pratt-for-two-hours-electric-boogaloo Park. I’m talking OG JP. The indisputable best JP. The 1993 groundbreaking dinosaur adventure extravaganza that forever made learning about dinosaurs cool JP. That JP.
Have you seen it?
Of course you have.
Now, think back while I ask you a simple question: who are the scariest beasts in that film?
If you answered anything other than “velociraptors” you’re wrong. No no, it’s okay, I’m not judging you, I’m just gently informing you…you’re wrong. Sure, the T. rex has the famous Jell-O-on-the-spoon-jiggling scene. And yeah yeah yeah, the T. rex is fierce and big and scary and causes all sorts of shenanigans. But at whom did Muldoon marvel and utter the now-infamous, “Clever girl?” Who was it that figured out the kitchen could be a festivus of potential death for humans? See where I’m going with this? It’s the raptors.
Recently it occurred to me that perhaps I had been approaching thinking about velociraptors all wrong. Perhaps the reason they are so terrifying is that they are not just fierce, but they resemble something I know well. There’s something eerily familiar about them.
And then it hit me.
I live with one.
Ding! Like a lightbulb over my head.
Toddlers are actually velociraptors.
I shall make my case. And Muldoon, feel free to call me a “clever girl” any time.
They can escape from anything
On Easter my 2.5-year-old learned how to undo the childproof doorknob covers on his door and escape from his room*. While I do admire his willingness to take the “escape from the cave” lesson of Easter to heart, this was actually a terrifying development. Connor can also open deadbolts, undo the little sliding bar locky thingy (technical term) on bathroom doors, and open heavy doors that give grown adults hernias. He can operate revolving doors. He knows what the handicap-accessible door opening button mechanisms do and can find them with astounding swiftness.
Now, if Jurassic Park gave me one lesson in dinosaur evolution** it was that velociraptors also can figure out how to escape. From anything. Cages? Forget cages. Those raptors laugh at your cages just like my toddler laughs at your “childproof” doorknob covers.
The sound. Oh my god, the sound.
You probably don’t remember with astounding accuracy what the velociraptors actually sound like in Jurassic Park but in case you’re wondering, they sound like this.
That screeching, growling, constant hum that eventually turns into a high-pitched roar? Velociraptors and my son would probably have one heck of a conversation when put together in a room. There is no telling who would cause more eardrum damage.
They can find the single deadliest object in any room in a matter of seconds
Granted, velociraptors don’t really need to find the deadliest objects in rooms as they are the deadliest objects in the room, but I still feel their ability to trap humans in precarious situations is notable. One time I answered a phone call and by the time I had answered “hello” I turned back around and found Connor holding a pair of full-sized adult scissors in one hand and a box cutter (not extended) in the other.
Where did he find these objects, you might ask? Well, friend, where else would a toddler logically think to look for something in a matter of 15 seconds? He had scaled onto the counter, climbed over the stove, traversed over the sink, and grabbed them off the top of the refrigerator.
As one does.
On the one hand, I was terrified, yet on the other hand, I was thoroughly impressed with not only his agility but his fortitude and problem-solving skills, which is exactly the description I give to the raptors.
They exceed all speed expectations
According to the annals of Jurassic Park raptors can reach a top speed of approximately 3,000 mph. It turns out toddlers are almost as swift, despite their short legs and general tendency to fall down simply because they have been standing up for too long.
If you don’t believe me regarding toddler top speed I would like to invite you to the grocery store with me at some point and challenge you to keep up with my son while I’m unloading groceries at the checkout line. One time I swear I heard a sonic boom erupt as I was unloading all my organic kale and zucchini*** onto the conveyer belt.
They are simply impressive
Sure, velociraptors are terrifying – almost as terrifying as spirited toddlers. And sure, they “keep you on your toes,” which in velociraptor terms means, “they very well might try to kill you” and in parenting terms conveniently also means the same thing.
But on the other hand, sometimes it’s impressive what toddlers and velociraptors can accomplish when they put their minds to it. Toddlers and velociraptors don’t just think outside the box, they first escape from the box, use the box to scale the bookcase, and then attempt to eat all the cat food you so cleverly hid “way up high so the toddler can’t eat it.****” In my calmer moments I love seeing what my toddler notices on our walks around the neighborhood. (In my not-so-calm moments I don’t particularly love seeing what kind of velociraptor noises he can make in front of Wrigley Field right at game time because he doesn’t want to turn back home to go get lunch*****.)
Toddlers are stubborn, loud, destructive, creative, hilarious, beautiful creatures. Calling them velociraptors is a complement of the highest regard. Now the trick I think is to eventually turn my son’s raptor energies into a force for good in the world. Does anyone have any ideas on how to do that?
*Yes, we have childproof doorknob covers on the inside of his door so we can prevent his imminent escape during designated “please for the love of all that is holy and good in this world sleep, please” times. Or as people in normal houses might call them, “nap and bedtimes.”
**Read as: all my lessons
***Wine. It was wine.
****We all know that’s not a hypothetical scenario, right?
*****You get the hang of it. Not hypothetical.