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For the last couple of months, Owl has really latched onto the concept of “broken”. He attaches the term to anything that is not as it should be in his little toddler eyes. He announces it in a shrill little voice, preceded by a worried “uh oh!”

Shoelace untied?

“Uh oh, BROKEN!!”

Blanket came off in the night?

“Uh oh, BROKEN!!”

Toy train track got disconnected?

“Uh oh, BROKEN!!”

So then, the other day, he started playing with the balloon that he brought home from The Hair Cut Incident, batting it around the room. Beloved Dog began batting it around, too, which Owl thought was just hilarious. I watched them playing keep-it-up together, warning off the dog when he got over enthusiastic.

Eventually the inevitable happened – The dog’s paw hit it too hard and…


The balloon disappeared, leaving a few shattered fragments of blue latex in its wake.

“Uh oh, BROKEN!”

Owl ran over and picked it up.

“Oh, honey,” I said, “it popped. Balloon’s all gone now.”

“No, fix! Mama fix!”

“You can’t fix a balloon once it’s broken,” I explained gently, as he clutched the limp  bits of balloon. I pried the balloon from his fingers. “It’s garbage now. I’ll go throw it away.”

“No!! Broken! Mama fix it! ME FIX IT!”

I relented and let him reclaim his bits of balloon, and he spent a good two minutes desperately putting them to his lips one by one and making puffing air noises, as he tried to breathe life into them the way he has seen me do with balloons in the past.

“That won’t work, honey,” I said, “once balloons are broken they can’t be fixed.”

Eventually, wiping tears from his face, he consented to my throwing away his balloon. I felt like I should be holding a funeral service.

“Bye, balloon.”

“Bye, bye, bayoon.”

I think we have some leftover balloons from the birthday party around somewhere. I should blow another one up for him. It’s good to move on.