Caspar is sad. He’s normally really happy all the time, and can find a cheerful positive slant on nearly any misfortune or drudgery. So it’s a bit of a shock when he gets sad, and also very hard to predict.
The last time he got sad (apart from when Manchester United lose against anyone) was when we had to do the inter-seasonal clothes transfer, and handed down his old winter coat to Malachy. I had pre-empted the potential emotional descent by buying Caspar a really nice, new, RED coat (team colours) which was extremely cosy.
But it wasn’t the Old Coat and Malachy was very victorious in his inheritance.
It took a lot of time and diplomacy to make it ok.
Then, the little glass bedside light in Caspar’s room got smashed. No-one quite knows how, but it left a nasty shard-like edge on display, which was just too tempting to fiddle with, and so I went on a search for a replacement — little knowing the distress that awaited.
Here is the lovely light which I got.
I had browsed the Ikea website with Caspar a few days before and we liked the look of this because it looks a bit like Pacman — you can open and shut its mouth by sliding the top up and down. In addition, the lower section has a little hollow which is perfect for keeping teeth in for the tooth fairy (and also toenails for the toenail fairy but that’s another story). Also, as you can see, it is RED. What’s not to like?
Well, apparently, a lot.
I had not learnt my lesson from New Coat-gate and blithely introduced New Lamp with a big ceremonial plug-in at bedtime. Caspar’s face was stony and glum. I pointed out the little tooth/toenail hollow. He turned his head away and stared soulfully at the remains of Old Lamp.
“What are you going to do with my old light, Mum?” he asked quietly.
“Oh, well, I suppose I could put the glass in the recycling if I’m careful, and the rest of it will just go in the bin.” My voice had taken on a brittle, sensible tone.
But Caspar didn’t want to say a proper “goodbye” to Old Lamp. He wanted it to rest in the cellar with all the less-loved toys and the cardboard boxes and the camping equipment. He felt that would be less final. I was concerned about that jagged edge lurking in the cellar for an unsuspecting child to discover.
So we compromised. We decided that the heart of a lamp is its bulb.
That the outer shell is simply armour, clothing which you can replace or discard.
The lamp still remains a lamp if you have the light bulb and socket.
And so it does remain, nestled safely in the lightbulb box down in the cellar, enjoying its retirement in peaceful darkness.
A tooth came out the other day. We celebrated by hiding it in the tooth/toenail section of the lamp, and the tooth fairy was remarkably (uncharacteristically) prompt with her visitation. Maybe a New Lamp isn’t all bad.
*With thanks to @MYSADCAT for the inspiration