Brave as a Tiger

One of C’s favorite books used to be "Quick as a Cricket". This is simply a board book where each page has an illustration with a single phrase, like "Quick as a Cricket", "Happy as a Lark", "Brave as a Tiger", and so forth.

About a year ago we were eating dinner at a family reunion in one of the huge hotels that they have down here (it’s called the Gaylord Palms). Towards the end of the meal, C was getting very antsy. I took him for a little walk through the cavernous lobby.

We wandered around a bit and found ourselves in a fairly dark area that is part of a recreation of an old fort. C started getting a bit jittery at this point, and understandably so. There were dancing shadows, strange noises, and weirdly lit water falls. As we were moving slowly through, someone dropped a serving tray. The loud crash was too much. C grabbed on to my leg and hung on for dear life.

Decision time. I probably should have picked him up and retreated, but that seemed like the wrong call to make. Instead, I knelt down so I was at his level and said "it’s okay. Let’s be brave. Brave as a tiger."

He thought about that for a minute or two and then looked at me and said quietly "Brave as a tiger. Rowr."

There are few things cuter than a whispered "Rowr". I smiled and said "Rowr!" back. He gave another (louder) "Rowr!" and we were off exploring again, talking about how brave tigers are.

Supergenius, right?

Fast forward now to yesterday evening, bath time. C ran into his room to get ready. I followed more slowly, taking time to pick up some wayward toys. I didn’t get too far before he ran back to grab my hand. Looking up at me, he said "Scared. C scared. Dark."

Together, we walked into the room and closed the door behind us without turning the light on. It was pretty dark, and he was holding my hand awfully tightly. I decided to try it again. I got down to his level and said very softly and reassuringly "Let’s be brave. Brave as a tiger. Rowr!"

His eyes widened and he looked around wildly. "Tiger? Tigers!"

Before I could answer, he grabbed my leg with both arms, his voice close to panic: "Tigers?!"


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