“Bampf!”

I was filling a glass of water in the kitchen and slowly turned off the faucet and looked down at the boy standing beneath me.

“Bampf, Daddy!” He repeated, holding something up in the air in front of his face. He beamed proudly and spun the item between his fingers like a jewel in the sunlight.

“Excuse me?” I looked more closely at what he was holding between his thumb and forefinger. “Oh! I see. Gideon, you found a feather!” This was not unexpected. His sisters had just recently been involved in something of a pillow fight in the living room. If we worked hard, we could probably reconstruct two or three whole geese from the feathers strewn about house.

The little boy nodded in recognition of the word “Feather” and then, perhaps on accident, let the tiny delicate object fall free from his fingers and drift slowly down to the floor.

“Aren’t feathers amazing?” I asked him as we both marveled at its beautiful dance through the air. It quietly landed on the kitchen tiles. “They are so beautiful and soft. You should touch it with your face and feel how soft it is.”

He blinked up at me for a few seconds, as if it was taking longer than usual for my words to work their way into his ears. He was pondering some deep truth, maybe considering whether his father truly was familiar with this mysterious object, or if he was simply being tricked.

“I’m not kidding,” I said. “Touch it with your cheek and see. It’s very soft.”

He looked down again at the feather laying on the floor, took a deep breath, and then quickly dropped down to his knees to pick it up. Or so I thought, because it turns out he didn’t pick it up. before I had a chance to react he kept on going and slammed his face into kitchen floor.

WHAM! He shook his head in shock, and then proceeded to do it two more times before I was able to break away from my own surprise and lunged to stop him. “Gideon! Gideon, stop it! That’s ridiculous. Stop hitting your head against the floor. Pick the feather up first, you little weirdo!”

He looked at me, and then glanced back down at the floor. He turned his head around the room and shrugged, “Where’d’t go?”

I shrugged back. “I don’t know.” I leaned against the refrigerator and sighed. “But you know, maybe it’s for the best. I think feathers are a bit too dangerous for you right now. Let’s wait ten or twelve years and try again, okay?”