I had to stop by our doctor’s office this evening to collect something, but this necessitated a bit of waiting inside the reception area. As I was on my bike with Hawkeye I was layered up like an onion, and Hawkeye was plain bundled up like …. well… like a bundled up thing. After I stripped off a few of my layers I divested him of his warm coat, his bike helmet, and his ski mask which I use to keep his head warm under the helmet.
The place is generally very warm, and particularly the area under the stairs where the toys are kept has a little play space with underfloor heating. This is, of course, Hawkeye’s favourite spot and thither I just follow even it meas sitting next to him melting. It is, after all, the reason he loves going to the doctor’s office. “He has toys, mommy! In the box. The one with the small holes.” (The box with the small holes, by the way, is how a four year old describes the LEKMAN storage cube from IKEA, whose kallax shelving units are taking over the world by stealth. Also, I may have spent too much time familiarising myself with all their storage options in the last six months.)
I digress, however. It was warm inside, so I suggested that Hawkeye also take off his cardigan, to which he agreed. I went to help him unzip it and…
“DEAR GOD WHAT IS THAT THING????”
Ok, I may not have quite yelled that at my son, because I am actually a grown up and a parent and capable of, on occasion, moderating my initial reaction to unexpected stimuli. But let me tell you, it was a damned close call.
A strangled “argh um urgh…. ahem…. uh… who gave you that sticker, dear?” is a bit closer to what actually came out of my mouth. One of his teachers did, it turns out. Why I don’t know. I couldn’t bear asking him because I actually couldn’t look at it. I mean, WHO in their right mind gives a four year old a giant sticker of a lifelike tarantula to stick on their shirt?
It was crippling. I mean, I couldn’t bear to gaze upon my own child. Conversation for the next ten minutes consisted of him showing me each of the toys, and me duly acknowledging him vocally while looking everywhere other than directly at him. It was like some tragicomedy. At some point, through sheer perseverance and trickery, I was able to peel the sticker off him and slip it over the receptionist desk, believing myself finally victorious.
Alas it was not to be, as I learned on my way out.
“Where’s my sticker?” Hawkeye asked casually as we were about to put our layers back on. “Oh, I don’t know, honey.” I lied through my teeth. “Maybe the spider scurried away!”
“Oh, there it is!” Hawkeye exclaimed, ignoring me completely after having spied the upside down sticker on the receptionists desk with his eagle yes. The girl looked at me apologetically for not getting rid of it fast enough. Hawkeye meanwhile slapped it back onto his shirt with a satisfied grin. It was all I could do to bundle him up as fast as possible and hide the offending creature from sight.