Parenting bright spots can come in some funny ways. As I wrote last week, my son is newly 10. Most days he makes choices that make me wonder if he will ever register on the maturity scale. Of course, there are those lovely glimmers of the man that he may become, like when I see how sweet and attentive he can be to younger children, I believe that someday he will make one heck of a dad. But on the average day, he exemplifies “typical boy.”

We had a mature moment this past week, though…maybe it is because he has now entered the realm of double digits. Or maybe it was just a blip on the radar to be followed by many more head-scratching moments. Nonetheless, I believe in taking the bright spots and running with them!

The Culprit
The Culprit

We were leaving our vet’s office with our dog, who had been there all day to have a procedure done. My son wanted to hold him on his lap. Since he did a good job bringing him to the vet, I figured if the dog was doing okay it should be just fine. Off we went. I would check my rear view mirror here and there, and all was seemingly well. But then I looked over my shoulder, and I swore I saw a little smear of something on the towel we were using for the dog. As I was processing this, I looked up to see my son’s eyes as big as hockey pucks staring at the poop on his hands. In a nanosecond, he cried out, “Mom! He’s got a dingleberry!”

Now, for those of you who are unfamiliar with what a dingleberry is, go Google it. My son was using it very accurately. I had to get my eyes back up front not only because I was driving (though we were stuck in parking lot traffic), but also I had to hide my chuckle. Even though I knew that a poop-cleaning catastrophe lay ahead, I couldn’t help but be amused by the visual that had just played out before me.

What I found so impressive is that my son kept his head. He didn’t push the dog away or freak out. He did say, “Can’t you pull over and clean this?” to which I reassured him that I would as soon as I could safely turn off. But he really held it together (not the dingleberry—just his attitude).

In a couple minutes I was able to pull into a corporate parking lot. No bathrooms available, but we were able to clean all things to a reasonable point, thanks to a bottle of Perrier, hand sanitizer, and paper towels. We then journeyed on and hosed ourselves down when we got home.

I couldn’t help but be impressed at how my son handled the whole experience. From the smearing to the cleaning, he handled a crappy situation like a pro. (Please tell me you got that pun right away.) He even continued to take care of our dog—now dingleberry-free—for the rest of the ride home.

I shared with him how much I appreciated the way he dealt with the situation, and how proud I was of him for being so mature. He brightened up and had that look that’s says, “Yeah, I did do a good job, didn’t I?” It was a precious moment of seeing my kid understand his own capabilities and growth.

Who knew that because of a wild dingleberry, a boy might stand a little taller?

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