Yes, as you can tell from the title, Le Monstre, the huge inflatable sled that I got and “tried” to use with Henry reared it’s ugly head again this week.
I know what you’re probably thinking. Why in God’s name didn’t I perform an exorcism on the thing and banish it to the dumpster after what happened the last time it made it’s appearance. The truth is… I’m not quite sure. Maybe it’s due to the fact that I hold out some form of hope that the thing will eventually bring a smile to ONE of my children’s faces at some point.
But, whatever the reason for keeping it, there the darn thing was still lashed to the stroller. The weather has been too cold to even attempt to take Henry out for a walk and so that horrible day was the last time the stroller was used.
Last week found us in a bit of a heat wave and so I had to face my fears and take Le Monstre off the stroller and bring it into the apartment. My heart raced as I cut loose the twine that held it at bay, thinking instantly that the moment it was released it would turn this wonderful day into a terror. I cut it free and dragged it into the apartment.
It was still withered looking, never having been inflated all the way, but that skull with it’s eight ball for a head could still be seen. Henry was doing his typical thing as I walked in, twirling and singing. Such an angelic scene, only to be decimated by the presence of pure evil. I thought to turn and leave before he saw it. But then I heard the singing stop. The sound of little feet grew silent and I looked over to see my little two year old son standing in the middle of the rug gaping at the “thing” behind me.
“That’s not fun.” He says and points a chubby finger at Le Monstre. He remembers. He remembers every moment of that horrible afternoon… shoot. How could he remember something like that? He’s two. Suddenly visions of his mounting therapy bills begin to flood my mind.
“Doctor, I don’t know what it is. I can’t get near a sled. I instantly throw up! And if someone even mentions a game of pool or an eight ball, I go into convulsions. Please tell me there’s a cure!”
He remembers and I feel terrible.
“I know buddy. That day wasn’t very fun.” I slowly let Le Monstre fall to the floor behind me.
“And mama said, time to go home.” He remembers even more, God save me.
“Yup, I did say that. It wasn’t fun was it? But do you remember what we did when we got home?” Please remember the endless mound of chocolate that I allowed you to consume. His face is blank. Nothing. Damn it. “We had all that chocolate, remember? Wasn’t that fun?”
“Reese’s cups?” Whew! YES! YES! Those glorious Resse’s cups!
“Yup, that’s right!” Saved by Hershey’s! I will forever be in your debt.
I drag Le Monstre’s half inflated carcass into the living room and Henry points again.
“That’s not fun.” I will make the best of this thing.
“I know it wasn’t that day buddy, but look, if we blow it up all the way you can sit on it like a big chair or jump on it and then it’ll be fun.” I get to work blowing it up. I’m having flash backs of that day the entire time, but I push through. Henry grows quiet and watches. Then he starts laughing. It could have been that I looked like Dizzy Gillespie or excitement over seeing the sled actually look the way it’s supposed to, but he’s laughing.
“I try?” He asks and moves next to me. I hand him the rubber valve and he starts pretending to blow it up. I clap. Le Monstre’s power is fading.
Once it’s fully inflated, Henry jumps aboard and loves sitting on that eight ball skull. He spins on the eight, jumps on the eight, chants the number eight and is smiling the whole time.
Le Monstre is dead. The only thing that remains is the shell of a fun sled that my kids can actually enjoy using. But as I watch him, I begin to wonder… if he remembers this… how many other bad experiences could be in that little brain of his. As mentioned in the past, I worry about him remembering these bad moments he has.
But, don’t we all carry those bad memories? Those moments that shape us and make us laugh later on? Henry’s already laughing at Le Monstre and so am I. I can only hope that we can both laugh at days like this as we go on together… or, if not, I can make myself available for those family group therapy sessions.