My son was a hot mess all day today. He was mostly fine until we left the house this morning. He started running to the car and tripped on a crack in the driveway. He did this yesterday as well, and already had a bandage on one of his knees from the previous incident. He didn’t do too much damage, but started freaking out about his shoe (one of those little kid flip-flops with a strap on the back). Falls are never fun, but this one was nothing major. No blood, no problem. I kissed his foot and put him in the car. Kissing makes injuries go away, something that only parents know.
When we arrived at the church, our first destination before the zoo, he ran again. And again, he fell. This time he scraped his other knee, and caused a minor injury. Tears again. I told him, like any good parent, that he needs to be careful when he is running. Those words went out into the universe and didn’t land in his brain, but I felt good about taking advantage of the teaching opportunity. I consoled him again, and we went inside the church building. Being away from home, we didn’t have bandages readily available, and he started pulling up his shorts to keep them from rubbing on his knee. My wife sent me home for bandages and different shoes, since the flip-flops clearly weren’t working.
When I arrived back to the church, he was crawling on the ground as if he didn’t have an injury. I gave him a bandage for his other knee and changed his shoes. No big deal. After going to the zoo (a marginally fun experience), we went to eat at Q’Doba, one of his two favorite places to eat. His new bandage came off at the zoo when he was playing on a metal whale-slide, so his freshly scraped knee was exposed to the elements as we exited the car. I was holding his hand in the parking lot, and mysteriously, he slipped and fell again. Tears again. I, for the third time now, consoled him. Having bandages in the car now, I got a fresh one and placed it on his twice injured left knee. He wasn’t too happy about his falling experiences, and it looked like we were going to be getting food to go (no parent likes to have a screaming child in a restaurant, no matter how much it looks like they can’t hear their own screaming child (another thing only parents know)). He pulled it together like a champ, though, and all was well.
I played a show tonight at a local coffee shop, and my wife and kids all came. This coffee shop has a 9-foot tall bear in the entryway that Obi is not too fond of. He came in and cowered, staring at the dead but intimidating bear. We both tried to assure him that it was not alive and could not “get” him. He wasn’t going to be convinced. I asked Obi if he would like me to tell the bear not to scare him anymore (a tactic I have used on other non-scary things that he is scared of). He said he would like that, so I went up to the bear, pointed my finger at its face, and said, “Stop scaring Obi,” in my firmest voice. He smiled, but was still quite scared of the bear.
So, I chose to try another tactic. I asked Obi if he would like me to get him something that will make him invisible so the bear could not get him. Obi liked that idea, and I ran to my car hoping I had an item that would be convincing enough. Sure enough, I had one of his hats sitting on the floor of my car. I brought the hat to him and placed it on his head. I told him that as long as he had the hat on, the bear could not see him or scare him. This works on television, so it should work in real life, right?
Not so much. He pulled the hat over his eyes and thought I meant that as long as he couldn’t see the bear (or anything else for that matter) he wouldn’t be scared. He walked around with the hat over his eyes, bumping into everything. And, he was still scared of the bear, continually lifting up the hat to see if the bear was still there. Not surprisingly, the bear didn’t move a muscle all night.
As I started playing, Obi forgot about the bear and enjoyed entertaining everyone with his dancing and comedic brilliance. This is the life of a parent. Kissing, consoling, bandaging, and invisibility cloaking in order to get through the day. If anything was accomplished today (which I am unsure of), I know that Obi is pretty sure that I have his back. That I love him. And that’s all that really matters.