My parents call Rae and James their adoptive grand kids and they are regular visitors. Rae is now 13 and James 11. Several weeks ago, Rae had an evening concert that her parents attended, but James decided to stay with us. Mom was also gone that evening, so it was just dad, James, and I.
|Joel and kids in 2008|
As the show progressed, I noticed James kept poking at one of his feet. After about the fifth time, I said, "Yes, that's your foot." He then told me about a splinter he had gotten in his heel at home and was uncomfortable and was hoping to get it out.
Of course I have no personal experience in such things as splinters. However, dad has had several instances of them and during my lifetime has readily told many times how he lets them work to the surface and then digs them out.
My parenting skills need more development. I retold the routine to James who was fine until I said dig it out. With his eyes as big as saucers, I quickly backed up and said if he left it alone, the splinter would work itself out. Just to keep barefoot and not drive it further in. This answer satisfied him and we went back to the show.
Maybe a minute later, he was back to poking at his heel again. Trying to practice parenting, I indicated with my mouth stick and said to move over so I could take a look at it. The saucers returned for eyes and James said, "No, don't dig it out!"
Me while waving my mouth stick I replied, "I have a stick, what am I going to do?"
James, "Oh, good point."
He repositioned on the stool he sat on, and I could see the tiniest of spots on the bottom of his foot. It didn't have any red areas or infection that I could see and looked fine. I poked around it for good measure and reassured him it wasn't bad and everything would be okay. Not long after this, it came out and all was right in the world again.
Looking back on this exchange, it made me realize something I hadn't noticed at the time. James didn't see a mouth stick or Joel the quad laying in bed. I was a normal guy with my version of hands just hanging out and helping with a problem.
Living the quad life, I'm very used to getting stares when in public and generally being ignored. I often wonder if I had been blessed with children, if they would just see me as James and his sister do. I look forward to continuing to watching these two grow and improve my rare parenting opportunities.