We got a new bicycle for Calfgrit5; he’d outgrown his first bike. I was putting the bike together, with CG5’s “help,” when he started spinning one of the wheels. As the wheel spun, he started to put his finger into the spokes.
“No,” I said, “don’t do that.”
He stopped. But then a few seconds later, he started to do it again.
“No!” I said. “You could really hurt your finger.”
“How?” he asked.
“Your finger,” I explained, “will get caught in the spokes, and broken.”
I could tell by the look on his face that he wasn’t really getting the concept. His mother broke her toe a while back, and from his point of view, it was nothing really bad.
I said, “Go out into the yard and find a stick to bring to me.”
He ran out into the yard, and after a minute, came back with a long, thin stick.
“Watch what happens,” I said.
I spun the wheel real fast, then slowly lowered the stick down into the spokes near the fork. Crunch! The stick snapped. A piece went flying off, and another piece dangled from the main length.
“See?” I said.
His face scrunched up in horror, and he burst out in tears. He bawled.
“What’s wrong?” I asked with concern.
He cried out, “Now I’m going to have a nightmare.”
His mother came into the garage and noticed her baby crying. When she asked what happened, CG5 said, “Daddy told me I’m going to break my finger. And he showed me with the stick. Now I’m going to have a nightmare.”
He was truly upset. I had no idea the demonstration would affect him so. But, after he calmed down, he didn’t try sticking his finger into a spinning wheel again. And that night he apparently didn’t have a nightmare. So maybe it wasn’t a horrible thing to show a child, after all.