My son doesn’t like to walk sometimes. Well, often. Who would when you have two capable parents to pick you up and carry you? That was fine at two and at three and even for a time at four. But now that he’s five years old and stretching out and putting on mass it’s not so easy. I can do a block, maybe two. And then he’s got to walk no matter his protests of tiredness and that his legs have stopped working and that he just can’t go any further.
This is a pivotal moment. Play it wrong and he may cry up a storm and you’ll wind up lugging him.
So this calls for tactics. My favorite of late is the tactic of distraction.
It can work. The other day we were walking home from school when the protests began. “Pick me up!” he said. My response came with rapid-fire determination: “Quick! We’ve got to run. A dinosaur is about to eat us.” So we ran and a tyrannosaurs rex stormed after us with his jaws snapping in our tracks, hungry for a morsel of human flesh. For blocks it gave chase and we ran faster and faster, sweating now and then huffing and then slowing with tiredness. “We have to keep going,” I told my son. “A few blocks more and we’ll be safe at home. Quick! Run!”
My son wasn’t buying it anymore. Not now. He was too exhausted and his legs were pounding and giving out.
So he stopped.
I came to a stop and turned to watch my son as he turned and faced up to the T-Rex. He pointed up into its wide-open and salivating jaws and its ravenous and raging eyes.
“Stop!” he yelled at the T-Rex, and then he moved his arm to point at me. “Eat him!”
I was flabbergasted – and then thinking deeply and quickly as the mighty dinosaur swallowed me whole. This calls for a change in tactics. Next time, I said to myself, bring his scooter.