#8 appointed himself my honorary second shadow. When I tramp through the house, or out in the yard, he was not far behind. Because of that, I have started walking very quickly to give myself some space.
Fortunately, he also began to give me a little more space. After a few quick turns and a lot of squished toes, he now tries to stay about three paces behind me. His paces mind you, not mine. So, I foresee more squished toes over the horizon.
We have had other children who attach themselves to me. The daddy stage, they all go through it to one degree or another, around two or three years-old. However #8, well, he has taken it up to a higher level. While other children wanted my attention, and followed me around, they would all get bored when I worked on a project for a long time. #8 sticks with me like gum to the bottom of my boot.
Then, there are the times when he cannot follow me. When I cannot take him for expedience or for his own safety. At times like those, he would often turn up his sad face and his imploring eyes to me. And #8 has the most imploring eyes, round as empty Christmas cookie tins. When they look up at you, the ground beneath your feet seems to lose its firmness. You want to let him come, deliver his desire, and all around give in. It is like looking down into the pleading glare of an abandoned kitten.
He is quite good at that. And, his eyes do much more than cause guilt when none is deserved.
I was really unaware how much he observed me, until he walked up to my knee and asked for a pen. I tend to carry one or two in my shirt pocket, and so I released a pen into the little boys care. I expected that he wanted to join a sibling at the table and draw.
To my surprise, #8 took the pen and tried to put it into his own shirt pocket. After a couple of attempts, he turned to me for help fitting the pen into a pocket half its size. I did my best, and he was satisfied, strutting away like a rooster, king of the coop.
However, he soon came rushing back, looking as confused and upset as a cat that ran into a closed sliding glass door. The pen, that had no trouble resting in my pocket, would not stay in his.
Poor little boy. It is just not easy to be like Dad.