Wednesday, January 6, 2010

My Lucky Ice

You know when your kid asks you if they can do something and you know, from the get go that its not going to turn out well but you say OK anyway?

That is what happened with the lucky ice.

We were walking home from Kindergarten on Monday and though three’s not really any snow left on the ground, there are plentiful patches of ice here and there – filthy, gray ice piled up near the gutters. As my children are wont to search the asphalt for treasures, Primo was looking down at the ground when he exclaimed, “Oh! Look what I found!”

“What is it?” I asked, controlling my response so as not to belie the disgust I could not help but feel at my son picking up thinking from the street.

“It’s a piece of ice!” he exclaimed.

“That’s cool,” I said.

“Its LUCKY!” he went on, breathless, “It’s my lucky ice!”

He was holding in his hand a tiny sliver of ice, maybe ½ an inch long – that looked in every single way exactly like any other sliver of ice you’ve ever seen in your life.

Why couldn’t the kid have fond a pebble? Or a stick? Or a coke can? Something that doesn’t vanish before your very eyes? The answer is clear. He’s just not that kind of kid. He’s a dreamer, my son, and dreamers invite despair.

“When I throw it down, it doesn’t break! See? It’s lucky!”

We were close to home now and I declined to comment. I was just concentrating on making it inside without any of us getting frostbite, It is flipping FREEZING out there.

And then Primo asked: “Can I keep it Mommy?”

I knew there was no possible way this scenario would not end in tears. Yet, he wasn’t asking for much. My kid just wanted to bring a little sliver of ice inside. It wasn’t a dog. It wasn’t a rat. It wasn’t a Ferrari. Just a little sliver of ice to which he had assigned magical properties. How could I deny him?

“Just be sure to put in right into the freezer or it will melt,” I cautioned.

As we walked into the lobby, I hear him whisper into his hand:

“Make the door open, Lucky!”

And the automatic doors to our building opened.

“Lucky, make the elevator come.” he whispered.

And the elevator came.

“Lucky, make us go up!”

We ascended.

I opened the door and told him to stick the ice, which was by now a near-invisible sliver – right into a piece of aluminum foil and put it post haste in the freezer.

He did so.

“I know that my ice will never melt!” he assured me.

Our only hope now, I thought, is for him to get totally engrossed in something else and forget about this lucky ice.

But no dice. Half a minute later, he wanted to check on his talisman, and when he unwrapped the foil he found – nothing.

“My ice!” he cried, “Where’s my ice?? Lucky!!! LUCKY!!!’

Since I am his mother, I get blamed for every unfortunate occurrence which befalls Primo. So he turned on me.

“It’s your fault!!! You killed Lucky!”

He launched into a fit of hysterics, throwing himself on the floor and screaming and crying.

Seconda walked over, put her hand don his shoulder like a little Mommy herself and said,

“Ok, honey, you have to just CALM down. You have to take a deeeeep breath. Take a deep breath!”

As you can imagine, this did not improve his mood.

It was the first day back to the grind after a long vacation and I just couldn’t work up the energy to deal with the disaster. So I took the easy way out. I used magic.

While he was having his grief-stricken attack, I walked into the kitchen, got a new piece of almsmen foil, took a shard of ice from the ice cube tray and stick it in the place where Lucky had been.

Then I advised Primo to check the freezer.

Was it the ideal way to handle the situation? No. Will it teach my son anything at all about handling disappointment and making better choice and cause and effect? No. Did it work? Oh yeah.

I told my friend about the lucky ice and she said, “You’ve got to stop enabling his fantasies.” And I said, “Well, Santa with his reindeers is a fantasy enabled and everybody thinks that OK.”

Come on, guys, Tell the truth. You do it too, don’t you? You tell little white lies to keep the magic of childhood alive (and make your life easier in the process), right? Or if not, tell me where you find the strength NOT to.