At the supermarket today I tried to make a little boy laugh by making faces. But instead he burst into tears.
I was pretty upset too, since this was killer material. My signature move is puffing up my cheeks like Dizzy Gillespie. But I was also wriggling my nose, goofy grins. If this stuff doesn't work I might as well throw in the towel.
I felt bad for the mom who had a kid sitting the shopping cart quietly, playing with a bag of frozen okra - now screaming. She comforted him, whispering to him softly in Spanish (all I caught was something about el blanco loco.
We made up with a little peek-a-boo (it was a pretty long line.)
I mentioned it to my wife - and she asked me if I puffed up my cheeks.
"Of course," I grinned. She said little wonder he cried, the cheek thing is freakish. Also, I've got a few days of stubble going, so I must have looked like a frightened myopic blowfish.
Meanwhile, a few days ago, I was chatting with the mom of one of my son's friends when we picked up our kids from their pre-school. The two boys were running around. My son's friend fell hard, landing on his rump, on a rock. He burst into tears (who could blame him) and his mother scooped him up.
This little boy has an older brother, so he always seemed worldly and grown-up (for a five year old that is.) My son idolizes his friend a bit because his friend has actually seen the Star Wars movies and plays on the computer himself. I'd never seen him cry. He's a great kid - I didn't want to see him in any pain. But it was nice to see him as a little boy.
At five all boys want to be tough and big and strong. They want to grow up and they are like little man dolls - posing and posturing. But they are little boys too. Sometimes, when they are squeezed just a little the sweetness comes out.