Friday, June 15, 2001

Father's Day celebration

Some dads get wined and dined on Father's Day. Some receive elaborate gifts. Some are released from dad duty to go participate in their favorite sporting events, or to lounge lazily in front of sporting events on TV.

Our dad got to go to a church carnival.

It wound up costing about as much as an expensive dinner, anyway. The ticket prices for the kiddie-sized rides seemed exhorbitant, but then I'll admit to not having been at a church carnival for a long, long time. We would not, for quite a while, have even considered bringing our son to one. I mean, you might as well post a sign over the entrance saying, "May be overstimulating to small boys with sensory-integration and impulse-control problems."

But he's coming along, and he did okay. It's in the little stupid things like carnival attendance that the progress a kid like my son makes becomes apparent. He was very excited; he jumped and sang and talked to himself; but he held it together. He went on the little merry-go-round car ride about six times; the roller coaster, ferris wheel and teacups once; the obstacle course three times. He walked and ate popcorn at the same time. He only grabbed people's keys twice. And when he'd had enough, he used words to tell us it was time to go. Can't think of a much more successful day than that.

During his first obstacle course run, he balked a couple of times -- at the bottom of a rope ladder, at the beginning of a high, wobbly bridge -- but he quickly figured out how to go about each one. The third time, at the start of a small tunnel near the beginning of the course, he ran into a small boy who was afraid to go in. I yelled for him to help the boy, and the boy's father, standing nearby, asked for my son's name and then yelled for the boy to follow him. And he did, through the tunnel, up the ladder, across the bridge, much to his father's amazement. "He's never gotten that far before!" the dad marveled. He revealed that his son is good in school, quiet and well-behaved, but is hesitant with physical things like rope ladders and high-in-the-air bridges.

No one has ever accused my boy of being quiet and well-behaved, but now, after years of hesitancy, he can do rope ladders. He can do bridges and slides. He can do carnivals. And he can lead the way for others less sure of themselves.

A pretty nice Father's Day present, for both his parents.

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