Small. Not really a mole as such, more a large freckle. And it’s been on the back of my son’s leg since he was born 3 years and 10 months ago, except yesterday he noticed it for the first time. At bathtime. And it freaked him out.
“AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH! Daddy! NO, NO NO! GET IT OFF ME, I DON’T WANT IT!”
“It’s okay son it’s just a freckle. I have lots. Look!” I showed T one on my arm.
“AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH! DADDY! NO, NO NO! GET IT OFF ME, I DON’T WANT IT!” but this time at volume setting 11. Perhaps showing T mine wasn’t such a good idea.
We have books about how the human body works. One of them, hilariously, has a baby doing a crafty poo. It’s amazing what the body can do. We’ve sung Heads, Shoulder, Knees and Toes, so we know those are all there and where they are and that’s cool. We’ve got past the stage of T discovering he has a willy and being fascinated it. He doesn’t put his hands down there any more when standing idly, or before dinner. He’s cool with it because he’s got used to it.
But a freckle. A birthmark. Something he’s had since day 1 and has only just noticed? That’ll freak you out a bit.
They don’t tell you this in the parenting guides. That one day, quite randomly, your child will notice something about themselves and suddenly freak out about it. Or how to deal with it. So we thought quickly. Perhaps me showing T my myriad of freckles wasn’t such a good idea.
“It’s a special spot. A tiny freckle that makes you, you and you special. It doesn’t hurt and it doesn’t cause a problem. It’s there because it’s special and because you’re very special. And it will always be there.”
I thought I could leave the scientific and possibly genetic reasons behind such things to my ex wife, as that’s more her bag. Besides, it was getting late.
He seemed happier with this but looked at me a bit suspiciously. He kept mentioning it later. And scratching his leg like it was suddenly bothering him.
“Does it hurt?”
“Then please stop scratching it.”
“But I know it’s THERE!”
‘From your shrieking earlier so does the entire town’ I thought, but didn’t say. I reiterated the special spot thing, and told him we call it a freckle. A freckle. And then I realised how lovely the word ‘freckle’ is.
I said to T I’d read him an extra story as he was a bit discombobulated. He chose the story and he chose ‘Lost and Found’ by Oliver Jeffers. The story of something small that turns up unexpectedly and causes a small boy some worries, but ultimately something which he learns to love.
I hope this is also the story of my son’s freckle.
Have your children been through something similar? Suddenly realising something about themselves or their bodies and how did you deal with it? All comments and experiences would be great to read.
Thanks for reading.