Sometime Your Children Do Stupid Things

Aspen pitched a fit because I was using the vacuum and she hates the sound. She kicked so hard that she kicked herself in the face.

Then she cried, long and hard.

It was one of those moments when you can’t help but laugh, because only a three year old would do this, but at the same time you have to go, “Ohh… I’m so sorry,” and snuggle with her because, you know, she’s three.

I held her for a bit on the sofa, and once she was calm, I started the vacuum again. She threw a fit, and, naturally, kicked herself in the face, again.

I stopped the vacuum and looked at her, shaking my head as Aspen held hers. She didn’t cry this time though. Instead she held a somber, sad look that gave me a sense of relief. It felt like maybe, just maybe, she’d figured out that kicking yourself in the face was a bad idea.

Or at least, I hoped that was the case. I think all parents have moments where you can’t, for the life of you, understand how your child was capable of doing something quite so stupid. And for a fleeting moment, you wonder if you should cash in her college fund now. I mean honestly, she just accidentally kicked herself in the face twice. What chance does she have at Harvard?

But then again, she’s three, and kids are supposed to do stupid stuff, right? I know I sure did. I grew up next to my grandfather’s farm. I remember touching an electric fence more than once, or twice, or three times. The cows seemed to figure that out faster than I did as a child.

What was my job in all this? I suppose it was to teach her everything, even the obvious things, like don’t kick yourself in the face.

So I did just that.

I sat next to my young daughter. I kissed her leg. Then I kissed her forehead. Then I said something I never thought I’d have to say to anyone, “Kicking yourself in the face hurts, doesn’t it?”

She nodded.

“You probably shouldn’t do it again.”

“Okay,” she said.

Then I started the vacuum for a third time. And again, she threw a fit. Only this time she was in more control, and didn’t kick herself in the face.

And as crazy as it sounds, I was proud of her.

I suppose this is what they mean by “small victories.”


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