Springtime means three things around here: fresh air, flying disks, and baseball. No not that kind of fresh air. The Air Wick kind of fresh air. Let me explain. Last spring, someone in our house was very interested in an Air Wick commercial. The commercial starred a female elephant with an English accent talking about how she does not have time to keep her house fresh and clean. She explains how the new Air Wick Freshmatic does it for her by spraying a spurt of air freshener every 9, 18 or 36 minutes. (Trust me, I know the time frame). Here’s a similar one:
Not only did I have to watch this commercial over a thousand times last year, but my son recited it, laughed at it and threw complete fits if I did not take him down the detergent and air freshener aisle at the grocery so he could “visit” the Air Wick, Lysol and other assorted fresheners. And before ABA intervened and taught me a thing or two, I bought him one. We were very “fresh and clean” until the freshener ran out. Very.
It wasn’t the scents that he was interested in. No, no. In fact, he is hypo-sensitive about odors. He gives no facial expression or any indication he can smell anything out of the ordinary whenever there is a strong odor. No, the Air Wick is all about the button and the spray. The freshmatic has a button and a tiny hole from which the spray is dispensed. He who controls the button controls the spray. Oh how my son covets the button and watching the spray come out! The Air Wick Freshmatic is 100 times cooler than most of his toys.
Along with all this fresh air, at this time of year, everywhere we turn there is baseball. Last year, for his birthday, the little guy received a Fisher Price ESPN Better Batter Baseball pitching machine. He was in love with this thing. Of course there was a button involved. A large red button on the base. Once pushed, it would load the sleeve of balls to a velcro’ed black hanging tee for hitting. Oh, the squeals of delight for this thing. You’d think he was ready for the major leagues. No, it was all about the button. Examining the parts as they moved.
And when he was not playing baseball, he was playing with this thing:
It’s called a Zoom-O disc launcher. You press the trigger and it spins a small disc very fast. When you let go of the trigger, it flies through the air. You are supposed to catch it in the catcher. At our house, if it makes it past the kid’s face, it flies through the air and onto the ground somewhere behind beds, in corners, on ledges or in toy chests where we have to go on a treasure hunt to find it.
What do all three of these things have in common? My son loves to examine their functions. Close up. Very close. This has resulted in him spraying himself in the face with Air Wick, hitting himself in the cheek with the hanging tee and smacking a small orange disc in his face. Not just once. Repeatedly. No learned danger. No fear of it happening again. Just repeated injury. If he begs enough for the Air Wick, we put sunglasses on him while he “plays” with it. (He doesn’t fall for the ploy of taking the actual air freshener out – he whines and crys until it is put back in).
When a fun day of these spring activities ends, and I go to take out my contact lenses for the night, I usually tell my son that I’m leaving the room to “take my eyes out.” It’s a hint that it’s time for bed. I have said it every night since he was a baby. He watches me sometimes when I remove my contacts, sees it does not hurt and is a simple task.
In the middle of “taking my eyes out” the other night, I finally came to realize why my husband’s warning to our son about keeping his face away from all these objects might not be working. He’s been saying, “Keep it away from your face! Aim it away from your face! You could take your eye out!”
Oh, the lack of communication. If my son had it in his vocabulary, I’m pretty sure, given his experience, he would say, “Mommy does it every night. So what?”
There is something opposite of literal about all that…I guess we’ll have to warn him a different way.