Baby Jason was Brylan’s baby to help him practice being a good daddy.
Brylan was four when he started kindergarten. He could already read and write (he had addressed the invitations to his fourth birthday party — not that I was proud of that or anything). His teacher, Mrs. Reels, was maybe 33, soft-spoken, kind, and pretty. Or maybe she was pretty because she was soft-spoken and kind. She loved the kids and offered them chances to Show and Tell about anything they chose.
Brylan chose Baby Jason for Show and Tell.
My son and I are alike in many ways, but our differences are as far apart and unlike as the North and South Poles. Or the center of the Milky Way and the Outer Spiral Arm Earth spins in.
For starters, I worked my way up from the crippling shyness that laid me low on Christmas Eve when I was 2-1/2, to the highly functioning introvert I am today, and he has always been an extrovert’s extrovert. This means his happy, people-loving self was thinking how great it was gonna be to be the center of attention, telling everybody all about Baby Jason. At the same time, my cautious, I’d-rather-be-hiding-in-a-Tibetan-cave-reading-James-Joyce-by-candlelight-than-singing-karaoke-drunk-at-a-friend’s-birthday-celebration brain only saw a dozen ways sharing Baby Jason at Show and Tell could end in life-changing humiliation.
So I said:
“That’s a great idea, honey! How about if you also read them William’s Doll?” Me, Mom the Disaster Deflector
Another chance to perform? He was all over that! (Do I know my kid or what?)
William’s Doll, by Charlotte Zolotow, is the story of a little boy who willingly tries every “boy’s” activity his father suggests in an attempt to divert him from his longing for a baby doll to love, and the wise grandmother who sees and loves William’s heart and knows how to help him.
Mrs. Reels had her own wisdom. Not only did she let Brylan read the story, but she prefaced his sharing by asking how many of his classmates had dolls — including “action figures” like GI Joe or He Man, Master of the Universe.
Every child in the room raised a hand.
Have you ever felt you had to save your child from a pit of quicksand only you could see? Did you consider letting them sink or survive on their own? Even for a moment?