“He fell in the boogie trap!”
My recently-turned seven year-old has a fascination for buildings and structures. He plays with Legos almost constantly. His castle building stage led to a series of elaborate booby traps that has yet to run its course after two years.
Children are adorable, and due to a combination of adorableness and confusion with certain consonants, booby traps became boogie traps.
You try to do the right things as a parent. You try to correct their mistakes, their behaviors, and their insistence that things are what they clearly aren’t. You want them to learn the correct things. Yet, it is just so damn cute when they mess up.
As my son turned seven, I was faced with a sort of mathematical panic. Seven is halfway to fourteen and driving, a third of the way to twenty-one and drinking, a fourth of the way from his graduation with a doctorate in space paleontology (I dismissed this as a mistake until the Mars rover started collecting samples). A fifth of the way to my age, when he may sit with his own child debating whether or not to correct his consonants.
His life moves so quickly. He seems to grow six inches on the weeks that I don’t have custody on him, and he learns new things every day. Thus, my panic. Soon, there won’t be any more getting up with his blankie and his stuffed polar bear to watch cartoons. There won’t be any more snuggling on the couch. I will descend from Mount Olympus and the Zeus-like heroic status of being a little boy’s father to simply being a respectable mortal. Daddy will slowly dissolve in to Dad.
I’m not ready to give those things up, even as I know they must be surrendered as he becomes more independent of me. I’ve watched him move from baby to toddler to little boy, and I can see the rest of the phases piling up around the corner, waiting to storm in. It won’t be long, now.
I was thinking about all of these things on his birthday, after the party, when we went to his elementary’s back-to-school carnival. He won a whoopee cushion in the ring toss, blew it up, and sat it on a near-by chair. He jumped up and sat on it, releasing its mock-flatulence and laughing.
“It’s a wooshie cushion!”
Maybe it won’t be so soon, after all.