The Bird Lesson_Hal Evan Caplan-Teachings of a Three Year OldI learn life's little lessons from my three year old son. Sometimes I'm embarrassed by the lessons because of the situation taking place as I learn, but a lesson is a lesson, and I am in a perpetual state of learning from him.
My teacher and I decided to go to the park to play. It was a hot sunny day, so very soon sweat was running down my face and arms, and my clothes began to stick to my body. A real comfortable feeling – not! For those of you who live in the south, you know exactly what I mean. I kept asking myself, how in the world can my teacher run and play in this sweltering heat?
While he was playing, he would frequently run back to the picnic table where I was sitting and guzzle down water. After about the fourth time he did this, I actually wondered if he had poured some water over his head because he was soaked from head to toe. I had not seen him pour it, so I knew the heat had gotten the best of him. Finally, I told him that he needed to sit down and rest a bit at the picnic table.
Since my teacher and I decided to bring food for a picnic, I felt this would be the perfect time to sit and have our picnic lunch. As we ate, my teacher was thrilled to have the "flight of the birds" all around us. This made me nervous, to say the least. Once the birds saw that we had food, I feared they would dive in and help themselves. The Alfred Hitchcock movie flashed before me...
Then, he began throwing the birds his crackers saying that the birds looked so hungry... which of course only made things worse. I was getting tired of shooing away the birds and was happy when we were finally done with lunch. I felt more like a moving scarecrow throughout our lunch, so I really didn't have a chance to enjoy it much because of the birds.
After he finished his lunch, my teacher went back to his new-found friends on the playground and continued playing. I noticed that quite a few birds had gathered on the tree limbs above me. Now I'm sure you are thinking exactly what I thought at the time...I need to get out from under these birds. Unfortunately I was a little too late, and yes, "IT" happened. One of the birds decided to deliver a present on my shoulder.
Many emotions went though my head. To put it lightly, I was pretty mad. I was also a little embarrassed and frustrated, partially due to the extreme heat. I looked around to see if any of the other parents who were spread out around the parameter of the playground had witnessed what had just taken place. I couldn't tell for sure, but I still felt embarrassed. Luckily, I knew I had another t-shirt in my truck that I keep in there as backup...but that's not the point.
I gathered up my teacher and the two of us headed for the truck. On the way to the parking lot I explained to him what had happened, and he decided my lesson was to begin. He thought it was hilarious and immediately burst into laughter! This of course didn't help my ego or foul (ha ha) mood, at the time.
Once at the truck, I immediately took off "THE SHIRT".
"Dad, let me see it." He finally said between giggles.
"No." I replied.
"Come-on." He begged.
"No, it's not a big deal." I expressed trying to minimize the situation.
"Is it a big poop or a small poop?" He wanted to know.
"Poop is poop." I struggled to say.
Again he laughed and laughed.
Not wanting to continue with the conversation, especially the in direction it was going, I redirected his attention to the fact that he was missing his game with his friends. Luckily, that tactic worked. I changed shirts and the two of us raced back to the park and off he ran to be with his friends.
I noticed the birds were still on the tree limbs above THAT picnic table and I felt they were looking at me. If I didn't know better, I was sure the birds were inviting me to sit below them again. No, no, no, I thought to myself as I sat down at another picnic table far-far away from the birds in the trees. The reason I sat at the original table in the first place was because it was in the shade. As I sat in the hot sun, I said aloud to my self, "A picnic table with shade and birds lurking above or a picnic table in the heat"...hummmm. No contest. I continued to sit in the sun.
The group of kids that my teacher had been playing together slowly began reduce in number, and finally, my teacher was ready to go. Once we were back in the truck headed for home, my teacher was was scrambling around in the back while sitting in his car seat. When I questioned what he was doing, his reply was, "nothing."
I didn't realize it at that moment because I was driving, but he was trying to pick up that dirty shirt with his feet. I found out that he succeeded when out of the blue he burst out laughing...again.
"What's so funny?" I asked.
"You should see it Dad." He chuckled.
I looked in the rear view mirror and he was holding up "THE SHIRT".
"Please put that down!" I exclaimed.
My teacher tossed the shirt back down. I thought this was the end of it. I was wrong. My teacher began singing. I wasn't sure what he was singing, because he began to laugh, then sing a little, then laugh again. This continued all the way home.
Apparently, my teacher had made up a "Bird Poop" song. Don't ask me how it went because I really couldn't understand how it went because of the amount of laughter throughout the song. The only portion of the song I somewhat understood was the references to the bird poop.
In a nutshell, the lesson that I learned that day is: It is important to find the humor in things, even in the unpleasant things, because this allows us to enjoy life to the fullest.
Teachings of a Three Year Old... Turned Tyke,
by Hal Evan Caplan.
A father learns from the wisdom of his toddler.