Sunday, June 27, 2010

Learning the Hard Way

Today I loaded up 3 gas cans in my 4Runner to fill with gas for our lawnmowers and 4-wheelers. I was also low on gas in the 4Runner. I had Stephanie, Benjamin and Britton with me. I dropped Steph off at King Soopers to pick up some diapers and a couple other items and then drove to the King Soopers gas station. Ben (of course) wanted to help me fill the gas cans. So after entering my payment info at the pump, I let him be in command of the gas pump nozzle and watched him stick it into the can and pull the trigger. No problem. I topped off the first can and while I put the lid on it Ben start on the second. I topped off the second and put the lid on while Ben started the third. Once the three cans were full, I stuck the nozzle into the 4Runner to fill it up. Ben said something like, "Daddy can I hold the trigger to fill it up?" I responded with, "No Ben, you don't need to touch it. Leave it alone and it will click off when it's all done." So I turned to pick up the 3 full gas cans and load them in the back of the 4Runner. Next moment, Ben is screaming, "Daddy, it EXPLODED on me!!" And when I turn to see what happened I see gas dripping all down the side of the 4Runner onto the ground and all over Ben's face, head and shirt.

Now what would you do?

I knew I needed water, but it was one of those lame gas stations with the guy inside a tiny glass-enclosed building selling cigarettes and injector cleaner. So I went for paper towels first. I checked the window cleaner station at my pump. Towels empty. I ran over to the next. Empty. Now remember, Ben is standing there with his eyes closed soaked in gas and screaming, "DADDY IT BURNS, DADDY DADDY DADDY!" And by now Britton has climbed out of the 4Runner and is also yelling, "Daddy, Daddy, Daddy!" And of course, everyone in the entire gas station is muttering under their breath, "man that guy is a complete idiot who should be turned in to the authorities." After I finally located some paper towels (which they had just loaded the paper towel dispenser so full that I could hardly get any out and was cussing under my breath) I ran up to the glass building attendant and said, "I really need some water to flush my son's eyes." Luckily there was a kind gentleman who had a bottle of water which he donated to the cause. So we flush Ben's poor little gas-soaked eyes which burned like fire and just about that time Stephanie walks up with a box of diapers and sack of groceries. You can imagine her response to the situation. Serious stomach acid.

Anyway, we loaded him up in the car, quickly drove home, googled "treatment for gas in eyes" and threw him into the shower. We flushed his eyes for about 20 minutes and he began to recover. All the time I'm thinking, "why would he mess with the nozzle when I told him to leave it alone?"

He's fine now. No lost eyesight or permanent damage. We even went swimming today, played a board game and rode 4-wheelers for a couple hours tonight. But how scary...

Made me start thinking about Ben in general. He's fearless. That's a good trait, right? Well, sometimes it is and sometimes it isn't. I have no doubt that he's going to be an Airborne Ranger or something. But he's six- not exactly experienced at anything. But he thinks he is. Sometimes the counsel of Daddy just doesn't seem to ring relevant for him and he's gotta learn things the hard way.

Hmmmm. I guess I'm not too much different. How often to I sort of ignore Daddy's counsel and go ahead and try it out my way? I've learned over the years that Daddy is right. After all, He loves me. So when we asked Ben if he learned anything today, he said, "To listen to Daddy because he wants me to be safe." Ok, hopefully this one sank in. One can only hope that 45 minutes of stinging face and eyes has to count for something...