A few days ago I talked about Luca’s various bashes and smashes and facial re-arrangement. But the thing is, it never seems to bother him for more than a few seconds. After a couple seconds of intense screaming, he snaps back, ready to bleed again.
Elijah has a different philosophy. If a single cell of Eli’s skin is damaged, he howls in pain. Heaven forbid he gets a scratch, he demands a tourniquet. Tears can accompany everything from a bruise to a leaf brushing against his shin.
As a result, he and I have been talking a lot about “manning up.”
Saturday morning, Eli was riding his bike while Luca and I were walking to Penny Park. I said, “Hey man. Remember when I said you don’t want to be known in school as the nose picking kid?”
“Uh huh. I don’t want to be the booger eater.”
“Well, here’s another thing you don’t want to be. The crybaby. If you cry every time you get hurt, or cry at the littlest thing, the other kids may not want to play with you.”
Knowing full well he was ignoring me, we continued past his friend Charlie’s house. As it happened, Charlie was playing in the front yard. Eli begged him to join us. A few minutes later, Charlie was riding along side Eli.
Charlie, while the same age as Eli, is a little more advanced physically. He rides without training wheels. He can catch a baseball. And I’m pretty sure he can dunk. Eli is pretty cool with it. Because I’m sure he can “Angry Birds” circles around Charlie.
At the end of the block, Charlie lost control of his bike and crashed to the cement. Charlie popped up and said, “I crashed! And I cut my knee!”
Sure enough, blood was gushing down his leg. Eli ran to his side, “Do you need a Bandaid?”
Charlie said, “No! it’s just blood.”
I jumped in and over praised, “Wow Charlie! You sure took that like a man. No crying for you, huh. What a big boy you are. Maybe you should get a giant toy or something later.”
My ploy did not go unnoticed.
About three steps later, Eli leapt off his bike and fell to the ground.
“Look dad! I fell! And I think I got a scrape,” while he examined his leg.
I walked over and over praised him for being a man about it. Oh boy. You sure are a tough guy. Tough as nails.
This began a demolition derby for the next five blocks. They fell. They crashed. The smashed. Their bikes went tumbling into rose bushes.
As it happens, Charlie is in Eli’s class this year. I am going to smash them together as much as possible. And maybe Eli will avoid the crybaby thing. The booger thing? We gotta work on it.