I have come to a rather dramatic revelation today:
Candy is more comforting than . . . well, pretty much anything.
At least if you’re four, which my friend Caleb is.
Today, while at an eye appointment for his mother, Caleb decided to get a drink from the water cooler. To me, this seemed innocuous enough to allow – after all, I have never had any harmful encounters with water coolers. Unfortunately, Caleb puts danger into many otherwise safe situations, and this particular water cooler had both a cold tap and a hot tap. (To quote Amanda, “Who does that?!”) Sure enough, Caleb managed to find the hot tap and burn his finger. So I’m holding a five-month-old under my arm while trying to comfort the screaming banshee Caleb has become. We go out to the van and put a cool wipe on it, but being that he is only four, it only distracts him momentarily from the lung exercise. So I calmly try to pretend that I’m not looking over my shoulder wondering if anyone is calling a social worker to report abuse (so this is what harried mothers feel like!) and shuffle around for burn cream and a band-aid. The application of the burn cream keeps his attention a little longer than the wipe, because of the “squishiness” involved, but once there are three band-aids swathing his pointer finger, he starts up right where he left off.
Mary has by now figured out that her brother is upset and decides to give the yelling a try herself. Lucky me. I’m sure I look like I have this under control now. So I do what any sane person would do: I bribe him.
“Hey Caleb, Miss Coral has candy in her bag in the office. If you can take a deep breath and calm down, we’ll go in and you can have one.” (Yes, I know, I referred to myself in the third person. Scary, isn’t it?) His mouth shuts. A few stray hiccups. He sits down on the running board. “What kind of candy?”
Sigh. So much for maturity having the upper hand.