“Soccer balls are meant to be played with outside,” I explained.
Little Legs cried harder; big, fat tears left snail trails down both cheeks.
“Inside, inside, inside,” he said.
He scooped up the still-shiny-brand-new ball with both hands and gingerly carried it to the back door.
I intercepted, again, and kicked it back to the yard.
“Let’s pass it back and forth to each other.”
His face turned red as a murder-scream escaped from his tiny body. He was furious, his ball was out of his possession and his mommy was not listening, double grounds for the big emotions.
He raced after the ball, grabbed it and ran back to the door. He started pounding the door with an angry fist, hopeful for someone to let him, and his ball, into the safety of the house.
“Alright,” I relented. “We can put the ball back inside.”
I opened the door and he carefully rolled the ball inside, watching its path through the living room and into the kitchen. Satisfied with its resting place, he turned around, ready to continue playing.
“Coons,” he said, reminding me of what happened to the last soccer ball.
“I know, the racoons got your ball and shredded it up last time. You were really upset when we found it, weren’t you?”
He nodded and pointed to the woods.
“Coons. Ball, coons.”
“We will be more careful this time and bring it in at night. The racoons can’t get to it that way.”
He shook his head in a flat rejection.
He was not taking any chances, and I was not about to change his mind.